Fungal antibiotic resistance is not as known as bacterial resistance but its day by day development is sort of alarming. Understanding and finding a way to handle these fungal resistance to drugs can be a major breakthrough in medicines.
It was seen before that the anti-fungal drug resistance would occur due to the mutations in fungi’s DNA, but now scientists from the University of Edinburgh have discovered that not only by genetic code of fungi there are other ways they develop resistance.
In their new research published in Nature, they have found out that fungi exhibit epigenetic changes, alterations that don't have any effect on DNA, saying that even though current diagnostic techniques rely on sequencing all of the fungi’s DNA to find mutations there are many more causes for it, which were previously missed out. There can be many reasons, one overuse of agricultural fungicides leads to increasing resistance in soil borne fungi and this is very much required as fungal diseases sums up to a third of the world's food crops loss annually.
A team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh's Welcome Centre for Cell Biology studied the emergence of resistance in a yeast, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, by treating it with caffeine to mimic the activity of antifungal drugs. They discovered that the resulting yeast that were seen resistant had alterations in special chemical tags that influence how their DNA is organized. Some genes became packed into structures known as heterochromatin, which inactivates the underlying genes, this epigenetic change leads to resistance of the fungi.
This discovery could pave the way for new treatments for resistant infections by modifying existing epigenetic drugs or developing new drugs that interfere with fungal heterochromatin. Not only through crops, but immunosuppressed individuals need some antifungal drugs for their treatment and thus this leading for further resistance is also a striking problem.
Fungicides can be modified with different improvisations in accordance with this study to treat food crops and avoid agricultural losses and also reduce the number of resistant fungal strains in the environment that continue to increase infections in humans.
Professor Robin Allshire, who led the study said: "Our team is excited about the possible implications that these findings may have for understanding how plant, animal and human fungal pathogens develop resistance to the very limited number of available and effective antifungal drug treatments."
Sito Torres-Garcia, first author of the paper, said: "Our study shows for the first time that fungal cells can develop drug resistance by altering how their DNA is packaged, rather than altering their DNA sequence."
Resistance has become one of the major problems in the world of medicine and microbiology, There should be alternatives found to try to get rid of these infections and to overcome the fungi from getting resistant to more different antibiotics.