Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Flu vaccination protects bacteria against virus

15.08.2008
Bacteria – like people animals and plants – can become infected by a virus. Researchers at Wageningen University, together with colleagues from England and the United States, have unravelled a mechanism with which bacteria can defend themselves for a longer period against threatening viruses.

Over the long term, this research offers possibilities to protect bacteria used in industrial processes against viral infections by giving them a 'flu vaccination'. The researchers will publish their findings in the journal Science on 15 August.

The mechanism that bacteria use to protect themselves against viruses was discovered last year. In an ingenious fashion, the bacteria build pieces of viral DNA into their own DNA. The 'adopted' segment of DNA works like a snapshot in a photo album, a type of memory that reminds the bacteria during a subsequent encounter with the same virus. At that point, the viral DNA is recognised, after which the bacteria set a system into operation that ultimately leads to the breakdown of the virus. Until recently, the operation of this system was a mystery.

The team of researchers from Wageningen, Sheffield (UK) and Bethesda (USA) succeeded in unravelling the operation of this defence system. In recent years, researchers Stan Brouns, Matthijs Jore, Magnus Lundgren and John van der Oost (Laboratory of Microbiology of Wageningen University) identified six bacterial proteins involved in the defence system. These proteins help the bacteria use the built-in virus fragment to prevent a virus infection. The researchers determined that one of the proteins cuts the 'virus snapshot' out of the photo album, and together with the other five proteins, compares the snapshot with the DNA of the invading virus. In the same way, other viruses in the photo album can also be rendered harmless.

With this knowledge, it is theoretically possible to protect bacteria against problematic viruses. This can be compared to a flu vaccination for bacteria. Potential applications include industrial fermentation processes, where bacteria that produce a useful substance are protected against viral infection by means of a 'vaccination' . By reversing the process, the protective mechanism of bacteria can also be deactivated. This could lead to a strategy where viruses can be used to combat bacteria that have developed an advanced form of antibiotic resistance, such as the hospital bacteria.

All animals, plants and bacteria run the risk of being infected by specific viruses. For humans, such viruses include the flu virus, for the tobacco plant this is the tobacco mosaic virus and for the intestinal bacterium E. coli this is the enterobacteria phage lambda. During the course of evolution, these organisms have developed systems to render viruses harmless. Viruses respond by adapting themselves in such a way that they avoid the defence mechanism, to which the bacteria respond in turn. In short, there is a continuous arms race between bacteria and viruses.

Jac Niessen | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wur.nl

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

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

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>