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!
What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society
Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Life Sciences
23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy