Researchers from University College Cork in Ireland studied the interaction between the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is often associated with severe burns, and the yeast Candida albicans, which can grow on plastic surfaces such as catheters. Both microbes are very common and although they are normally harmless to healthy individuals, they can cause disease in immunocompromised people.
The team discovered that molecules produced by P. aeruginosa bacteria were able to hinder the development of C. albicans 'biofilms' on silicone, when the yeast cells clump together on the surface of the plastic. Interestingly, the interaction between the two organisms did not depend on the well-studied bacterial communication system called Quorum Sensing, indicating that a novel signalling mechanism was at play.
C. albicans is the most common hospital-acquired fungal infection and can cause illness by sticking to and colonising plastic surfaces implanted in the body such as catheters, cardiac devices or prosthetic joints. This biofilm formation is a key aspect of C. albicans infection and is problematic as biofilms are often resistant to the antibiotics used to treat them. Dr John Morrissey, who led the team of researchers, said, "Candida albicans can cause very serious deep infections in susceptible patients and it is often found in biofilm form. It is therefore important to understand the biofilm process and how it might be controlled."
Dr Morrissey believes his work may lead to significant clinical benefits. "If we can exploit the same inhibitory strategy that the bacterium P. aeruginosa uses, then we might be able to design drugs that can be used as antimicrobials to disperse yeast biofilms after they form, or as additives onto plastics to prevent biofilm formation on medical implants," he said. "The next steps are to identify the chemical that the bacterium produces and to find out what its target in the yeast is. We can then see whether this will be a feasible lead for the development of new drugs for clinical application."
Laura Udakis | EurekAlert!
Hunting pathogens at full force
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Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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