The might of the Roman Empire is embodied in their legions; they succeeded in battle by hunkering down, raising their shields and forming an impenetrable barrier. Sticking together is a proven defence at the microscopic level too. When bacteria close ranks to form a biofilm they’re harder to treat with antibiotics. One kind capable of this manoeuvre is MRSA. Searching for antibiotics to prevent MRSA biofilms, researchers turned to ceftaroline. At high enough doses it was successful against a variety of MRSA strains, causing the bacteria to become fatally deformed, as captured here using scanning electron microscopy. However at low doses it actually encouraged biofilm formation in some strains. Such low doses can occur at the start and end of a treatment regime. It’s therefore vital to keep ceftaroline levels up if it’ s to stand a chance in the battle against MRSA.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.