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 Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein
24.01.2017 | Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

nachricht Choreographing the microRNA-target dance
24.01.2017 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>