Detection of Sub-Inhibitory Concentrations of Antibiotics

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and genes can arise from the over-exposure of non-resistant bacteria to antibiotics, including exposure to low concentrations of antibiotics over an extended period. We are studying the use of stress-responsive signaling pathways, pathways that are among the first cellular actions that a bacterium employs when faced with antibiotics or other environmental stressors, as reporters for the detection of low concentrations of antibiotics. We are using transcriptomics to determine those pathways most sensitive to low concentrations of different classes of antibiotics. We are developing a green fluorescent protein (GFP) library that will provide a fingerprint identification for class and concentration of small molecule stressors.