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!
Make way for the mini flying machines
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society
New 4-D printer could reshape the world we live in
21.03.2018 | American Chemical Society
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
21.03.2018 | Life Sciences