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 Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>