The naughty gene – MCR-1

On our planet, there are a variety of plants and animals; there are beneficial microbes and harmful microbes; for humans, we are similar but different in individual. All things are diverse on this planet but share a similar thing, which is "gene."

In a word, "gene is the blueprint for constructing all living things." Each person, each flower, and each squirrel is a construction site, and the construction starts from a fertilized egg and continues working inside the cells. Under the guidance of the "blueprint", nose grows into nose, arms grow into arms, and everything is constructed in its natural way. The old Chinese proverb "Dragon is born from dragon, chicken is born from chicken, and mouse's son can make holes" describes the effects of genes in most vivid words.

However, not all genes are moving towards the right direction. Studies have shown that some genes are quietly doing bad things, including causing drowsiness[1], memory loss[2], sloppy and reckless behavior after drunk[3], as well as innate insensitivity to pain[4]. However, these are not the most terrible part. Recently an antibiotic resistance gene named MCR-1 has been found by researchers from the South China Agricultural University[5]. MCR-1 can make bacteria highly resistant to polymyxin, which is our last remaining antimicrobial defense. MCR-1 gene is present in the bacterial plasmid, and plasmid is a transferable cyclic DNA, which is easy to transfer and exchange of genetic material between different strains.

Another article published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy has pointed out that E.coli MRSN 388634 plasmids encode 15 different resistance genes including MCR-1[6], however this doesn't mean that E.coli MRSN 388634 are not sensitive to all antibiotics. For example, genes encoding carbapenemases are not found in the plasmid. Therefore, E.coli MRSN 388634 are unable to resist the carbapenem antibiotics. However it is worth noting that the transfer rate for MCR-1 between the E. coli strains is very high. If MCR-1 is transferred to another bacteria that carries other resistance genes, which can make it resistant to all antibiotics. If this happens, it will be a nightmare to the whole world. However, it is still very rare to see super bacteria. Although at present 28 countries have announced the discovery of bacteria carrying MCR-1 gene, the number of super bacteria is extremely limited, so we don't need to be panic. In order to prevent super bacteria coming to you, everyone should pay attention to personal hygiene and to develop good lifestyle and habits.

Cusabio, as a good partner of life science research, manufactures and provides high quality products to accelerate research and discovery on MCR-1. Our products include MCR-1 recombinant proteins and polyclonal antibodies. The following shows our product list and pre-validated data images.

1. Recombinant Escherichia coli Probable phosphatidylethanolamine transferase Mcr-1(mcr1) (Expressed in E.coli) (product code: CSB-EP745804ENL)

2. Recombinant Escherichia coli Probable phosphatidylethanolamine transferase Mcr-1(mcr1) (in vitro E.coli expression system) (product code: CSB-CF745804ENL)

3. Rabbit anti-Escherichia coli mcr1 Polyclonal antibody (product code: CSB-PA745804LA01ENL)


[1] Systems Genomics Identifies a Key Role for Hypocretin/Orexin Receptor-2 in Human Heart Failure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;66(22):2522-2533.

[2] Ability to turn off genes in brain crucial for learning, memory. Washington University in St. Louis.

[3] A population-specific 5-HTR2B stop codon predisposes to severe impulsivity. Nature. 2010; 468(7327):1061-6.

[4] Pain without Nociceptors? Nav1.7-Independent Pain Mechanisms. Cell Reports. 2014; 6(2):301-12.

[5] Dissemination of the mcr-1 colistin resistance gene. The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2016;16(2):147–149.

[6] Escherichia coli Harboring mcr-1 and blaCTX-M on a Novel IncF Plasmid: First Report of mcr-1 in the United States. Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 2016: 60(7):4420-4421.

Cite this article

CUSABIO team. The naughty gene – MCR-1.


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