Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Well protected: Pathogens in Biofilm

18.06.2012
People with the hereditary disease "cystic fibrosis" usually die as a result of chronic pulmonary infections.
The scientists in Prof. Urs Jenal’s team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have discovered that genetic modifications in a pathogen causing pneumonia help it to persist life-long in the lungs of a patient. The findings are published in the current issue of the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Living in a community provides protection from unfavorable external influences and improves the survival chances of each single individual. A pathogen of pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, exploits this advantage. It produces a harmful biofilm in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis, causing chronic infections which permanently damage the lung tissue. A particularly resistant form of this pathogen is the small colony variant (CSV). Bacteria of this type coat themselves in an extremely thick matrix of a sticky polysaccharide compound, which enables strong adhesion of the biofilm to the surface of the lung.

Pathogens in Biofilm: Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a causative agent for pneumonia. (Photo: University of Basel)

Chronic infections through modified pathogens

The production of the polysaccharide compound is regulated by three proteins interacting in close cooperation with each other. As Urs Jenal’s team at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have been able to demonstrate for the first time, that mutations in these proteins lead to the development of strongly adhesive SCV bacteria.

In altering single protein building blocks, the scientists disrupted the finely tuned interactions between the three proteins and thus activated the signaling pathway for the production of the sticky polysaccharide matrix.

In a second step, the researchers investigated whether such modifications contribute to the pneumonia pathogen’s life-long persistence in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis. To do this they isolated the SCV bacteria in samples from patients and examined their DNA.
"Our research group could find various mutations in the blueprint for the proteins. Amongst them, the same mutations that we had previously identified as causing activation." explained Jenal. "These genetic mutations contribute as a causing factor to the production of the stable bacterial biofilm of Pseudomonas aeruginosa."

The survival advantage of a microbial community
In people who have cystic fibrosis, the pathogen of the SCV type can withstand challenges from the immune system and antibiotics better than normal bacteria. They are the source of the repeated new break-outs of pulmonary infections and ultimately the main cause of the fatal course of the disease. With their newly acquired knowledge, Jenal and his team would now like to develop new methods, to combat the pathogens effectively and thus prevent chronic lung infections.

Original Article
Jacob G. Malone, Tina Jaeger, Pablo Manfredi, Andreas Dötsch, Andrea Blanka, Guy R. Cornelis, Susanne Häussler and Urs Jenal
The YfiBNR signal transduction mechanism reveals novel targets for the evolution of persistent Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis airways
PLoS Pathogens, published 14 Jun 2012 | doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002760

Media contact
Prof. Dr. Urs Jenal, University of Basel, Biozentrum, Growth & Development and Infection Biology, Klingelbergstrasse 50/70, 4056 Basel, Tel: +41 61 267 21 35, E-Mail: urs.jenal@unibas.ch

Katrin Bühler | Universität Basel
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch
http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.ppat.1002760

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

nachricht Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

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...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

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...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>