Characterizing Antibiotic Resistance Profiles in Commensal Neisseria

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Abstract Summary

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a pathogenic sexually-transmitted bacterium, is becoming untreatable due to increased antibiotic resistance (AR). Related commensal Neisseria bacteria are non-pathogenic and are often found in the human oral and nasopharynx, but they are rarely studied. We seek (1) to characterize the intrinsic antibiotic resistance (AR) profile of commensal Neisseria species, N. mucosa, N. cinerea, N. lactamica, and N. elongata; and (2) to determine whether these bacteria can be considered reservoirs of AR genes for pathogenic Neisseria. We will measure AR levels in commensal Neisseria species with disk diffusion susceptibility assays (DDA), following the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) guidelines. DDAs consist of measuring an area of bacterial growth inhibition around a disk containing a known amount of antibiotic that diffuses through the agar. This initial study will be the first to characterize AR profiles of commensal Neisseria species. This information is necessary to understand molecular and cellular mechanisms expressed in these bacteria to resist commonly prescribed antibiotics and determine whether these commensal Neisseria can be considered reservoirs of AR genes. It is imperative that scientists identify the mechanisms of AR in commensal Neisseria to anticipate the progress of AR in pathogenic N. gonorrhoeae, and potentially N. meningitidis.

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