Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newly discovered bacteria as potential source of medicine

30.01.2014
A bacteria genus living in marine sponges produces so many natural substances that scientists are classifying it as a potent source for new drugs. The bacteria are presented in the journal “Nature”. Würzburg researchers were involved in describing them.

Many medications that are used to treat cancer or infectious diseases, for example, contain substances derived from bacteria and other microorganisms. Marine sponges play an important role in the search for new drugs from the natural environment. This is because they contain exceptionally diverse and unusual natural substances.


The marine sponge Theonella swinhoei resembles a smooth stone with openings on top. (Photo: Junichi Tanaka, University of the Ryukyus, Japan)

Image amended from: Hentschel et al (2012), Nature Reviews Microbiology

Now an international venture coordinated by Professor Jörn Piel from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) has broken new ground in this area. The scientists have discovered the origin of the many interesting substances found in the sponge Theonella swinhoei: they are produced by the bacteria genus Entotheonella, which lives in the sponge as a kind of lodger.

Tectomicrobia as a new bacteria group

Since the newly discovered bacterium is so unusual, the researchers were unable to assign it to a known group in the conventional system. They are therefore proposing a new strain (phylum), which they are calling Tectomicrobia.

The name Tectomicrobia is derived from the Latin word “tegere”, which means “to hide, to protect”. This term was chosen because the bacteria cannot be cultivated in the laboratory yet and are therefore “well hidden” from science. Furthermore, they presumably protect their host sponges, with the many substances they contain, from fish and other predators.

Habitat in sponges and sea water

Würzburg’s Professor Ute Hentschel-Humeida, expert in the microbiology of marine sponges, and her colleagues Dr. Susanne Schmitt and Christine Gernert were involved in describing the new bacteria. The Würzburg team also conducted studies into the distribution of the new strain. “Tectobacteria can be found in many other sponges, and also in sea water,” says Hentschel-Humeida, which points to their ecological relevance.

Making the chemical arsenal available

As their next step, the research teams are keen to discover what functions tectobacteria perform in symbiosis with their host sponge as well as in the coral reef ecosystem. They will also strive to make the bacteria’s chemical arsenal available for research and for possible biotechnological applications.

“An environmental bacterial taxon with a large and distinct metabolic repertoire”, Micheal C. Wilson, Tetsushi Mori, Christian Rückert, Agustinus R. Uria, Maximilian J. Helf, Kentaro Takada, Christine Gernert, Ursula A. E. Steffens, Nina Heycke, Susanne Schmitt, Christian Rinke, Eric J. N. Helfrich, Alexander O. Brachmann, Cristian Gurgui, Toshiyuki Wakimoto, Matthias Kracht, Max Crüsemann, Ute Hentschel, Ikuro Abe, Shigeki Matsunaga, Jörn Kalinowski, Haruko Takeyama & Jörn Piel, Nature, January 29, 2014, DOI: 10.1038/nature12959

Contact

Prof. Dr. Jörn Piel, Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, T +41 44 633 07 55; e-mail: jpiel@ethz.ch

Prof. Dr. Ute Hentschel-Humeida, Department of Botany II, Julius-von-Sachs-Institute for Biosciences, T +49 (0)931 31-82581, e-mail: ute.hentschel@uni-wuerzburg.de

Robert Emmerich | Uni Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rice study decodes genetic circuitry for bacterial spore formation
24.05.2016 | Rice University

nachricht How Neural Circuits Implement Natural Vision
24.05.2016 | 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: Atomic precision: technologies for the next-but-one generation of microchips

In the Beyond EUV project, the Fraunhofer Institutes for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen and for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena are developing key technologies for the manufacture of a new generation of microchips using EUV radiation at a wavelength of 6.7 nm. The resulting structures are barely thicker than single atoms, and they make it possible to produce extremely integrated circuits for such items as wearables or mind-controlled prosthetic limbs.

In 1965 Gordon Moore formulated the law that came to be named after him, which states that the complexity of integrated circuits doubles every one to two...

Im Focus: Researchers demonstrate size quantization of Dirac fermions in graphene

Characterization of high-quality material reveals important details relevant to next generation nanoelectronic devices

Quantum mechanics is the field of physics governing the behavior of things on atomic scales, where things work very differently from our everyday world.

Im Focus: Graphene: A quantum of current

When current comes in discrete packages: Viennese scientists unravel the quantum properties of the carbon material graphene

In 2010 the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for the discovery of the exceptional material graphene, which consists of a single layer of carbon atoms...

Im Focus: Transparent - Flexible - Printable: Key technologies for tomorrow’s displays

The trend-forward world of display technology relies on innovative materials and novel approaches to steadily advance the visual experience, for example through higher pixel densities, better contrast, larger formats or user-friendler design. Fraunhofer ISC’s newly developed materials for optics and electronics now broaden the application potential of next generation displays. Learn about lower cost-effective wet-chemical printing procedures and the new materials at the Fraunhofer ISC booth # 1021 in North Hall D during the SID International Symposium on Information Display held from 22 to 27 May 2016 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.

Economical processing

Im Focus: Trojan horses for hospital bugs

Staphylococcus aureus usually is a formidable bacterial pathogen. Sometimes, however, weakened forms are found in the blood of patients. Researchers of the University of Würzburg have now identified one mutation responsible for that phenomenon.

Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is frequently found on the human skin and in the nose where it usually behaves inconspicuously. However, once inside...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Networking 4.0: International Laser Technology Congress AKL’16 Shows New Ways of Cooperations

24.05.2016 | Event News

Challenges of rural labor markets

20.05.2016 | Event News

International expert meeting “Health Business Connect” in France

19.05.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists help create world's largest coral gene database

24.05.2016 | Earth Sciences

New technique controls autonomous vehicles on a dirt track

24.05.2016 | Information Technology

Programmable materials find strength in molecular repetition

24.05.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>