Prolonged exposure to weak (~1 µT) extremely-low-frequency (ELF, 50/60 Hz) magnetic fields has been associated with an increased risk of childhood leukaemia. One of the few biophysical mechanisms that might account for this link involves short-lived chemical reaction intermediates known as radical pairs. In this report, we use spin dynamics simulations to derive an upper bound of 10 parts per million on the effect of a 1 µT ELF magnetic field on the yield of a radical pair reaction. By comparing this figure with the corresponding effects of changes in the strength of the Earth's magnetic field, we conclude that if exposure to such weak 50/60 Hz magnetic fields has any effect on human biology, and results from a radical pair mechanism, then the risk should be no greater than travelling a few kilometres towards or away from the geomagnetic north or south pole.
All data generated during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Code files have been provided for Figures 2 and 4.
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Anant Paravastu, Georgia Institute of Technology, United States
© 2019, Hore
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Phenotypic variations between individual microbial cells play a key role in the resistance of microbial pathogens to pharmacotherapies. Nevertheless, little is known about cell individuality in antibiotic accumulation. Here, we hypothesise that phenotypic diversification can be driven by fundamental cell-to-cell differences in drug transport rates. To test this hypothesis, we employed microfluidics-based single-cell microscopy, libraries of fluorescent antibiotic probes and mathematical modelling. This approach allowed us to rapidly identify phenotypic variants that avoid antibiotic accumulation within populations of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cenocepacia, and Staphylococcus aureus. Crucially, we found that fast growing phenotypic variants avoid macrolide accumulation and survive treatment without genetic mutations. These findings are in contrast with the current consensus that cellular dormancy and slow metabolism underlie bacterial survival to antibiotics. Our results also show that fast growing variants display significantly higher expression of ribosomal promoters before drug treatment compared to slow growing variants. Drug-free active ribosomes facilitate essential cellular processes in these fast-growing variants, including efflux that can reduce macrolide accumulation. We used this new knowledge to eradicate variants that displayed low antibiotic accumulation through the chemical manipulation of their outer membrane inspiring new avenues to overcome current antibiotic treatment failures.
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