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How quickly does E.coli gain resistance against antibiotics?

  1. May 11, 2014 #1
    As well-known, the bacteria (particularly E.coli) can gain the resistance against antibiotics. In Wikipedia its mechanism is written:
    I would like to know:
    1) Are there any OTHER mechanisms for gaining the resistance? Can the bacteria gain resistance when it has got antibiotic, LB broth in medium and nothing more? In other words, we have got only one species of bacteria (E.coli in this case), the antibiotic and LB broth, but there are no other species of bacteria that can give/lend plasmids to E.coli. So, can E.coli gain resistance in this situation?
    2) How quickly do the bacteria generally gain the resistance? Can it happen during several hours or more time is needed? :rolleyes:
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2014 #2


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    1. As stated in the wikipedia article, spontaneous or induced genetic mutation offer a pathway to resistance that does not involve horizontal gene transfer. Such mutations may prevent the antibiotic from binding its target or increase efflux of the antibiotic from the bacterium.

    2. For this and the above question, you may find the following article useful:
  4. May 12, 2014 #3
    And such mutation comes from plasmids? :rolleyes:

    So long! :eek: By the way I am earning my master's degree now and I have got very similar thesis. In some experiments we observed the gained resistance (but this happened during 1 day) for E.coli and I wanted to know where does it comes from :smile:
  5. May 12, 2014 #4


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    No, such mutation can occur in the genomic DNA. Check the Nature Genetics paper for examples (e.g. for trimethoprim resistance, mutations emerge in the DHFR gene on the bacterial chromosome).
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