So how did these nitric oxide-producing enzymes arise? By Darwinian processes?
…Nudler’s team found that many antibiotics kill bacteria through the production of harmful charged particles known as reactive oxygen species, otherwise called oxidative stress.
“Antibiotics cause bacteria to produce a lot of reactive oxygen species. Those damage DNA, and bacteria cannot survive. They eventually die,” Nudler said in a telephone interview.
“We found nitric oxide can protect bacteria against oxidative stress.”
He said bacteria produce nitric oxide to resist antibiotics. The defense mechanism appears to apply broadly to many different types of antibiotics, he said.
Nudler said many companies are testing various nitric oxide-lowering compounds called nitric oxide synthase inhibitors for use as anti-inflammatory drugs.
He thinks a compound in this class could be made to reduce the amount of nitric oxide bacteria can produce, reducing their ability to resist antibiotics. That would mean researchers would not need to discover new antibiotics.