A new MIT study develops a machine learning approach to discover an additional mechanism that helps some antibiotics kill bacteria.
The secondary mechanism involves activating the bacterial metabolism of nucleotides that cells need to replicate their DNA.
This mechanism could help researchers discover new drugs that could be used in conjunction with antibiotics to enhance their bacterial killing abilities. Before researchers began computer modeling, they performed hundreds of experiments in E. Coli. Treating the bacteria with one of three antibiotics; ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, or gentamicin, and in each experiment, they added one of about 200 different metabolites including an array of amino acids, carbohydrates, and nucleotides (the building blocks of DNA). They then measured the effects on cell survival in each combination of the antibiotics and metabolites.
Because the researchers knew the experimental conditions that created each state, they were able to determine which metabolic pathways were responsible for increased levels of cell death.
Originally posted by MIT: http://news.mit.edu/2019/how-antibiotics-kill-bacteria-0509