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 Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Silicon solar cell of ISFH yields 25% efficiency with passivating POLO contacts

08.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>