Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Filming bacterial life in multicolor as a new diagnostic and antibiotic discovery tool

11.10.2012
Multicolored probes target cell wall synthesis in the arms race with bacteria
An international team of scientists led by Indiana University chemist Michael S. VanNieuwenhze and biologist Yves Brun has discovered a revolutionary new method for coloring the cell wall of bacterial cells to determine how they grow, in turn providing a new, much-needed tool for the development of new antibiotics.

Discovery of the new method is expected to broadly impact both basic and applied research tied to understanding, controlling or preventing bacterial cell growth in specific environments, said the two scientists in IU Bloomington's College of Arts and Sciences.

"Understanding the mechanisms controlling bacterial cell growth and shape is of tremendous importance in any area where we seek strategies for controlling bacteria, be it for the eradication of pathogens from the human body or the improvement of bacterial growth in bioremediation and industrial processes," VanNieuwenhze said. "Now, with the development of this one-step method to identify the zones of growth in bacterial cells, we have a dramatically improved toolkit to understand the basic mechanisms of bacterial growth that will directly enable the development of antibacterial strategies."

The paper, "In situ Probing of Newly Synthesized Peptidoglycan in Live Bacteria with Fluorescent D-Amino Acids," was published online Wednesday in Angewandte Chemie, the journal of the German Chemical Society and one of the highest-ranked chemistry-specific journals of original research in the world.

In the paper, the authors describe the first direct and universal approach for labeling peptidoglycan, the mesh-like polymer of unusual peptides and sugars that form the cell wall in diverse bacteria. The new method exploits the tolerance of cells for incorporating unnatural D-amino acid-based fluorescent dyes of various sizes and functionalities. The researchers found that these nontoxic dyes preferentially label the sites where the peptidoglycan is synthesized, enabling fine spatiotemporal tracking of cell wall dynamics.

"This method will also enhance our understanding of how bacterial growth is influenced by environmental changes, for example during the development of the human body or as a result of pollution in an environment," Brun said. "Until now, there have been limited ways to visualize active sites of cell growth, and no methods to assess microbial activity exactly where it occurs. Here we have a rapid, simple and universal strategy for direct observation of when and where living bacteria build their cell wall. I like to use Steve Jobs' famous quote when describing this method to my colleagues: 'It just works!'"

"We have synthesized dyes of different colors that we can use to see what part of the cell grew at different times," said graduate student Erkin Kuru, the lead author of the paper. "If we add dyes of different colors at different times during bacterial growth, the cell wall acts almost like a tape recorder for the morphological changes the cells go through during the respective time of exposure to the dyes. As a result, the final picture of the multicolored bacterial cell tells us what part of the cell grew and by how much at the respective time of exposure to the dyes. It's like making a movie of the life of a cell in multicolor."

The researchers found that the new dyes seem to work with any bacterial species, making them a powerful tool for uncovering how a variety of bacteria grow. The new reagents are also expected to allow scientists to make very selective modifications to bacterial cell surfaces that have different functions, in turn allowing for the development of a battery of new diagnostic and therapeutic probes. Furthermore, the affinity of bacteria for unnatural D-amino acids is also expected to pave the way for design and synthesis of novel D-amino acid-based antibacterials.

"Cell wall synthesis is the major target of current antibiotics," VanNieuwenhze said. "There has always been an arms race with bacteria because they constantly develop resistance to antibiotics, so new ones are always needed. We see this as a powerful new tool in that arms race because the cell wall is an excellent target for antibiotics."

Co-authors on the paper with Brun, a professor in IU's Department of Biology, and VanNieuwenhze, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry, were IU graduate students Kuru, H. Velocity Hughes, Edward Hall and Srinivas Tekkam; IU postdoctoral researcher Pamela J. Brown; and Felipe Cava and Miguel A. de Pedro, professors at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain.

Steve Chaplin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Individual Receptors Caught at Work
19.10.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
19.10.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>