What: Scientists from the National Institutes of Health have discovered how catheter-related bacterial infection develops and disseminates to become a potentially life-threatening condition. The study, which included research on Staphylococcus epidermidis in mice implanted with catheters, could have important implications for understanding many types of bacterial biofilm infections, including those caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).
Biofilms are clusters of microbes that almost always are found with healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) involving medical devices such as catheters, pacemakers and prosthetics. Most often biofilms that develop on such devices consist of Staph bacteria. Because biofilms inherently resist antibiotics and immune defenses, treating patients with biofilm-associated infections can be difficult and expensive. An estimated two million HAIs, most of which are associated with biofilms, occur in the United States annually, accounting for about 100,000 deaths.
Although biofilm-related infections result in significant numbers of deaths, scientists still have a limited understanding of how biofilms develop at a molecular level. But now scientists from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have identified a specific S. epidermidis protein, called phenol-soluble modulin beta (PSM-beta), that biofilms use for multiple purposes: to grow, to detach from an implanted medical device, and to disseminate infection. Antibodies against PSM-beta slowed bacterial spread within the study mice, suggesting that interfering with biofilm development could provide a way to stop the spread of biofilm-associated infection.
Similar proteins also are found in S. aureus, and the research group now plans to study their role in biofilms of MRSA and other bacteria.
Article: R Wang et al. Staphylococcus epidermidis surfactant peptides promote biofilm maturation and dissemination of biofilm-associated infection in mice. The Journal of Clinical Investigation 121(1): DOI: 10.1172/JCI42520 (2011).
Who: Michael Otto, Ph.D., senior investigator, Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis, NIAID. Dr. Otto is an expert in biofilms and Staphylococcus bacteria.
Contact: To schedule interviews, please contact Ken Pekoc, 301-402-1663, firstname.lastname@example.org.
NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)—The Nation's Medical Research Agency—includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.
Ken Pekoc | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
22.09.2017 | Life Sciences
22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering
22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy