Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A sweet bacterium keeps track of time

18.11.2014

Researchers unravel the mystery of a sugar-coated bacterium

Researchers are studying the Caulobacter crescentus bacterium because of its developmental process and cellular cycle, which serve as models for a number of pathogenic bacteria.


Caulobacter crescentus's cellular division produces different daughter cells, some with capsules (black cells) and some without (red cells).

Credit: ©Ardissone_et_al, University of Geneva

They all have in common the use of polysaccharides to create a particularly effective protective envelope, or capsule. Professor Viollier's laboratory at the University of Geneva's (UNIGE) Faculty of Medicine has just unraveled the secrets of capsule formation during the cellular cycle and perhaps even identified potential Achilles' heel of bacteria. These results were published in the last edition of the eLife journal.

Silvia Ardissone, researcher in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Medicine at UNIGE's Faculty of Medicine, works with Caulobacter crescentus, a bacterium that shows a particularly interesting cell division.

In fact, as with eukaryotic organisms, division of Caulobacter cells generates two different daughter cells, which can be easily separated. Researchers take advantage of this feature to obtain populations of synchronized bacteria that can be used to study specific cell cycle processes.

The sugar capsule, typical of pathogens

Like other bacteria, including several pathogenic species, Caulobacter crescentus presents a capsular envelope made of polysaccharides (sugars). This envelope protects bacteria from viruses, as well as from the human immune system. Professor Patrick Viollier's team studies how cells produce the capsule at the right time and just identified some of the underlying regulatory mechanisms.

One of the daughter cells lacks the capsule

Of the two different daughter cells generated by Caulobacter at each cell division only one is equipped with the capsule. This is what scientists noticed, and now they can now explain the reasons behind such a difference. In fact, the researchers showed that the synthesis of the capsule is controlled by the same mechanisms that regulate the cell cycle, and identified the protein that inhibits the production of the sugar capsule in one of the daughter cells.

"An uncharted path seems to have opened for the development of a new kind of antibiotics, products that would imitate the action of this inhibitory protein," comments Silvia Ardissone, who also imagines a type of medicine that "would strip the pathogens," and therefore disarm an entire bacteriological spectrum.

Silvia Ardissone | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.unige.ch/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

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

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

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...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>