Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New technique puts DNA profiling of E. coli on fast track

11.03.2008
Using new genetic techniques, scientists are unlocking the secrets of how E coli bacteria contaminate food and make people sick.

Michigan State University has developed a new technique to test the DNA of E. coli bacteria by examining very small genetic changes called single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs (pronounced snips). Using SNPs, scientists analyzed 96 markers, making genetic analysis of pathogenic bacteria possible at a rate never before accomplished.

“It used to take three months to score one gene individually,” said Thomas Whittam, Hannah Distinguished Professor at the National Food Safety and Toxicology Center at MSU. “Now, we are working on a new, more rapid system that can do thousands of genes per day.”

In a new study released in the Monday edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Variation in Virulence Among Clades of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Associated With Disease Outbreaks,” Whittam and his co-authors looked at the DNA of more than 500 strains of a particularly dangerous member of the E. coli family, O157:H7. In collaboration with David Alland of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Whittam discovered that individual bacteria could be separated into nine major groups, called clades.

... more about:
»Coli »DNA »E. coli »Whittam

E coli makes people sick because they produce toxins, called Shiga toxins. These toxins block protein synthesis, an essential cellular function, particularly in the kidneys. What Whittam found was that the different clades produced different kinds of Shiga toxins in varying amounts based on their DNA.

“For the first time, we know why some outbreaks cause serious infections and diseases and others don’t,” Whittam said. “The different E. coli groups produce different toxins.”

Rapid genetic characterization also opens up a new world of possibilities for identifying the bacterial culprits in outbreaks and finding out where they originated.

E. coli usually come from animal waste contaminating human sources of food or water. Finding out how the bacteria entered the food source always has been a challenge, but now food safety experts can use DNA just like police use DNA at crime scenes. Scientists will be able to identify those bacteria making people sick, find out where they entered the food source and then use this information to reduce contamination.

“This is the first time anyone has been able to classify very closely related groups,” Whittam said.

“This is also the first time we can tell the differences in how they cause disease.”

Whittam also has plans to use this methodology to study other bacterial strains, like Shigella, a major cause of diarrhea around the world. “This new equipment can be used to identify hundreds of thousands of pathogenic bacteria,” Whittam said.

Thomas Whittam | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.msu.edu

Further reports about: Coli DNA E. coli Whittam

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>