Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Silencing bacteria could stop infections and save lives

07.09.2004


Stopping bacteria from talking to each other could help prevent serious infections say scientists from Aberdeen, in new research presented Monday, 06 September 2004 at the Society for General Microbiology’s 155th Meeting at Trinity College Dublin.



“It is war out there. Bacteria need to wait until there are enough of them to attack us, otherwise they just get beaten off by our skin, the antibodies which patrol our blood, and our other defences,” says Professor Andrew Porter from Aberdeen University spin-out company Haptogen. “They use tiny molecules called haptens to talk to each other, letting each other know how many of them there are, much in the same way that we can smell things to sense what is going on in the world around us.”

“If we can block the actions of the haptens then we can fool the bacteria into thinking that there aren’t enough of them to attack us,” says Prof Porter. “The problem is that haptens are such tiny molecules that they don’t trigger our normal immune defences - they are so small they are invisible to our early warning radar.”


Infectious diseases are major killers - second only to heart diseases, infections cause a quarter of all the deaths in the world. Amongst other groups intensive care patients, cystic fibrosis patients and people suffering severe burns are particularly vulnerable. Now increases in world trade and travel mean that infectious diseases and antimicrobial-resistant strains of bacteria can spread rapidly between continents. Drug resistance, which is slow to reverse, costs lives, livelihoods and money, and threatens to undermine the effectiveness of many global health programmes.

The scientists believe that by targeting their signalling molecules instead of the bacteria themselves, they can avoid building up drug-resistant strains of bacteria. Haptens are used by bacteria to exchange information about numbers of bacteria, and to coordinate changes in their virulence just before they attack. Changing to their more dangerous state is costly for bacteria, and makes them more vulnerable to counter attack - in the same way that coming out from a defensive bunker to fire a weapon makes soldiers more vulnerable to enemy fire.

“If we can find a way of encouraging our bodies to produce antibodies which can wipe out these hapten signals, we can block the bacteria’s sensing and monitoring systems,” says Prof Porter. “Our early results suggest that we can make effective antibodies that not only stop the bacteria becoming more dangerous, they confuse communication so much that the bacteria commit suicide in their millions.”

The results so far from pre-clinical studies suggest that they have already found important prototype antibodies against the haptens. These can block the cell-to-cell signalling of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium which particularly attacks the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients, transplant recipients and burns victims, killing one in three people with severe infections. This high death rate is partly due to the resistance that Pseudomonas bacteria have already built up to current antibiotics.

Faye Jones | alfa
Further information:
http://www.sgm.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells
22.02.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht New insights into the information processing of motor neurons
22.02.2017 | Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>