Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newly discovered bacteria as potential source of medicine

30.01.2014
A bacteria genus living in marine sponges produces so many natural substances that scientists are classifying it as a potent source for new drugs. The bacteria are presented in the journal “Nature”. Würzburg researchers were involved in describing them.

Many medications that are used to treat cancer or infectious diseases, for example, contain substances derived from bacteria and other microorganisms. Marine sponges play an important role in the search for new drugs from the natural environment. This is because they contain exceptionally diverse and unusual natural substances.


The marine sponge Theonella swinhoei resembles a smooth stone with openings on top. (Photo: Junichi Tanaka, University of the Ryukyus, Japan)

Image amended from: Hentschel et al (2012), Nature Reviews Microbiology

Now an international venture coordinated by Professor Jörn Piel from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) has broken new ground in this area. The scientists have discovered the origin of the many interesting substances found in the sponge Theonella swinhoei: they are produced by the bacteria genus Entotheonella, which lives in the sponge as a kind of lodger.

Tectomicrobia as a new bacteria group

Since the newly discovered bacterium is so unusual, the researchers were unable to assign it to a known group in the conventional system. They are therefore proposing a new strain (phylum), which they are calling Tectomicrobia.

The name Tectomicrobia is derived from the Latin word “tegere”, which means “to hide, to protect”. This term was chosen because the bacteria cannot be cultivated in the laboratory yet and are therefore “well hidden” from science. Furthermore, they presumably protect their host sponges, with the many substances they contain, from fish and other predators.

Habitat in sponges and sea water

Würzburg’s Professor Ute Hentschel-Humeida, expert in the microbiology of marine sponges, and her colleagues Dr. Susanne Schmitt and Christine Gernert were involved in describing the new bacteria. The Würzburg team also conducted studies into the distribution of the new strain. “Tectobacteria can be found in many other sponges, and also in sea water,” says Hentschel-Humeida, which points to their ecological relevance.

Making the chemical arsenal available

As their next step, the research teams are keen to discover what functions tectobacteria perform in symbiosis with their host sponge as well as in the coral reef ecosystem. They will also strive to make the bacteria’s chemical arsenal available for research and for possible biotechnological applications.

“An environmental bacterial taxon with a large and distinct metabolic repertoire”, Micheal C. Wilson, Tetsushi Mori, Christian Rückert, Agustinus R. Uria, Maximilian J. Helf, Kentaro Takada, Christine Gernert, Ursula A. E. Steffens, Nina Heycke, Susanne Schmitt, Christian Rinke, Eric J. N. Helfrich, Alexander O. Brachmann, Cristian Gurgui, Toshiyuki Wakimoto, Matthias Kracht, Max Crüsemann, Ute Hentschel, Ikuro Abe, Shigeki Matsunaga, Jörn Kalinowski, Haruko Takeyama & Jörn Piel, Nature, January 29, 2014, DOI: 10.1038/nature12959

Contact

Prof. Dr. Jörn Piel, Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, T +41 44 633 07 55; e-mail: jpiel@ethz.ch

Prof. Dr. Ute Hentschel-Humeida, Department of Botany II, Julius-von-Sachs-Institute for Biosciences, T +49 (0)931 31-82581, e-mail: ute.hentschel@uni-wuerzburg.de

Robert Emmerich | Uni Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity
30.09.2016 | Aalto University

nachricht The structure of the BinAB toxin revealed: one small step for Man, a major problem for mosquitoes!
30.09.2016 | CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New welding process joins dissimilar sheets better

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of light metals.
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart have now developed two new process variants that will considerably expand the areas of application for friction stir welding.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Stuttgart in patenting and marketing its innovations.

Friction stir welding is a still-young and thus often unfamiliar pressure welding process for joining flat components and semi-finished components made of...

Im Focus: First quantum photonic circuit with electrically driven light source

Optical quantum computers can revolutionize computer technology. A team of researchers led by scientists from Münster University and KIT now succeeded in putting a quantum optical experimental set-up onto a chip. In doing so, they have met one of the requirements for making it possible to use photonic circuits for optical quantum computers.

Optical quantum computers are what people are pinning their hopes on for tomorrow’s computer technology – whether for tap-proof data encryption, ultrafast...

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Paper – Panacea Green Infrastructure?

30.09.2016 | Event News

HLF: From an experiment to an establishment

29.09.2016 | Event News

European Health Forum Gastein 2016 kicks off today

28.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cells migrate collectively by intermittent bursts of activity

30.09.2016 | Life Sciences

The structure of the BinAB toxin revealed: one small step for Man, a major problem for mosquitoes!

30.09.2016 | Life Sciences

Researcher creates a controlled rogue wave in realistic oceanic conditions

30.09.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>