Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Backstabbing bacteria: A new treatment for infection?

06.09.2010
Selfish bacterial cells that act in their own interests and do not cooperate with their infection-causing colleagues can actually reduce the severity of infection.

The selfish behaviour of these uncooperative bacteria could be exploited to treat antibiotic-resistant infections, according to research being presented at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting today.

Bacteria work together by using a well-studied communication system called Quorum Sensing (QS). During infection, bacteria talk to each other using QS to coordinate the release of toxins.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have discovered that in Staphylococcus aureus infections, bacteria defective in QS can benefit from 'opting out' of toxin production. By doing so, they can invest more energy in reproducing – whilst taking advantage of the nutrient-rich infection that is maintained by their neighbours.

By looking after themselves in this way, QS-deficient bacteria are quickly able to outnumber other bacteria that are busy producing toxins. As a result the overall severity of infection is reduced as fewer toxins are produced. "This opens up the interesting possibility of using these uncooperative bacteria to treat infection," said Mr Eric Pollitt who is presenting the study.

The group tested the theory by introducing S. aureus into waxworms that subsequently developed infections. "We found that the QS-deficient bacteria could not only outgrow normal bacteria in the same population, but that they could also invade other cooperating populations to reduce the severity of infection," explained Mr Pollitt. "This means that we could potentially isolate QS-deficient bacteria and use them to treat clinical S. aureus infections."

New approaches for the treatment of S. aureus infections are desperately needed as many strains of the bacterium, such as Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), are resistant to antibiotics. "Importantly, as any treatment involving QS-deficient bacteria would not be based on antibiotics, it could complement current treatments for S. aureus infections," said Mr Pollitt.

Using bacteria to treat bacterial infections is a potentially useful yet paradoxical approach. "It's an interesting concept of 'fighting like with like'," suggested Mr Pollitt. "This work also highlights that the interactions between bacteria during an infection can be just as important as the interactions between the bacteria and the host."

Laura Udakis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>