Clay-induced DNA breaks as a path for genetic diversity, antibiotic resistance, and asbestos carcinogenesis


Natural clays and synthetic nanofibres can have a severe impact on human health. After several decades of research, the molecular mechanism of how asbestos induces cancer is not well understood. Different fibres, including asbestos, can penetrate cell membranes and introduce foreign DNA in bacterial and eukaryotic cells. Incubating Escherichia coli under friction forces with sepiolite, a clayey material, or with asbestos, causes double-strand DNA breaks. Antibiotics and clays are used together in animal husbandry, the mutagenic effect of these fibres could be a pathway to antibiotic resistance due to the friction provided by peristalsis of the gut from farm animals in addition to horizontal gene transfer. Moreover, we raise the possibility that the same mechanism could generate bacteria diversity in natural scenarios, playing a role in the evolution of species. Finally, we provide a new model on how asbestos may promote mutagenesis and cancer based on the observed mechanical genotoxicity

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Hochschulbibliothekszentrum des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (hbz)

Last time updated on 09/09/2018

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