Investigating the Fitness Differences of Mobile Colistin Resistance Genes

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Interdisciplinary Bioscience DTP


The antibiotic resistance crisis is a worldwide problem and one of the major scientific focuses currently. Recently, plasmid mediated mobile resistance to colistin, one of the last-resort antibiotics against gram-negative bacteria, via mcr-1 has been discovered in E. coli although expression of this gene imposes a major fitness cost on bacteria. Multiple mobile colistin resistance (MCR) gene variants and homologs have since been identified globally. This project aims to assess the fitness costs of these homologs and variants in order to determine if these costs are being alleviated. Any fitness changes identified could be examples of resistance evolution and/or compensatory adaptation. If successful, this project could allow us to study genetic evolution of MCR-like genes in real-time. Studying the costs that colistin imposes and how mobile colistin resistance genes are evolving could provide insights on how to preserve the efficacy of this important antibiotic and impact how we use colistin in the future.

This project tackle topics involving antibiotic resistance genes and the evolution of resistance in bacteria. Topics discussed here strongly link to the BBSRC "Bioscience for Health" research topic and the research outlined here addresses the "Combatting antimicrobial resistance" priority area as we aim to use biological techniques to understand the evolution and spread of colistin resistance genes and the structure and function of the proteins they encode.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011224/1 30/09/2015 29/09/2023
1945628 Studentship BB/M011224/1 30/09/2017 30/03/2022 Lois Ogunlana
Description Found that genetic alterations in an antibiotic resistance gene lead to changes in fitness and resistance of bacteria carrying these genes.
Exploitation Route Aids in our understanding of the spread of mobile antibiotic resistance genes.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment,Healthcare