I am part of a project elucidating some structures that are required for bacterial transformation. We have the opportunity to screen inhibitors of the system to stop it from functioning. I am not a microbiologist and have never worked with transformation, and this research process would be time and resource intensive. I am weighing up the pros and cons, however am struggling with how the inhibitors could be practically applied.

How useful would stopping transformation be? My thoughts so far boil down to:

Could it enhance controls by allowing two separate strains to grow on the same plate without any genetic conference?

Could it be applied to stop contamination of genetic information from otherwise insignificant contaminants?

Are there any other problems that transformation is causing in laboratory experiments?


In the research lab? I thought about it for a while and found no usage. But it could be interesting for clinical applications to prevent bacteria spreading their resistance genes (which are usually organized on extra chromosomal plasmids) and thus preventing multi-resistant bacteria.

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    $\begingroup$ I did explore this avenue briefly, but although multi resistance may have started by competence (Yeh, 2002: Association of metronidazole resistance and natural competence in Helicobacter pylori. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy), I have found no evidence that transformation occurs in patients. It seems that multi resistant bacteria infects a patient, then grows into an established multi-resistant infection. $\endgroup$ – James Dec 13 '13 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ So you have bacteria coming from outside which make the problem and they are not spreading this ability? Thats interesting. $\endgroup$ – Chris Dec 13 '13 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ Well I'm sure they are causing the problem in the body too, but it hasn't been observed or measured. I don't see how a drug would stop reduce multi-resistant bacterial infections since there is so much transformation of these genes externally. $\endgroup$ – James Dec 18 '13 at 10:45

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