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3. Mechanisms of resistance

Upon waking, Jeff was disturbed by what he thought and felt was going on in his body.

 

"I need to review as much as I can about antimicrobial resistance,” he decided.

He soon remembered that bacteria responded to selection pressure like most organisms in nature.

Bacteria generally develop resistance to antimicrobial agents by one of three mechanisms: mutation of the target site for the antimicrobial agent, destruction or inactivation of the antimicrobial agent, or removal of the antimicrobial agent from the bacteria by pumping the antimicrobial agent out of the bacteria in a process called efflux.

"I should have paid more attention in microbiology,” Jeff muttered to himself.

Jeff also recalled that bacteria have several ways to share genetic material. Circular pieces of extra-chromosomal DNA known as plasmids use a method called conjugation to transfer DNA from one bacterial cell to another. Viruses specific for bacteria called bacteriophages, that may be carrying antimicrobial resistance genes, can take over the bacteria cell's machinery in a process called transduction. Some bacteria can even pick up naked DNA in the environment through transformation.

 

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