Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

One bacteria stops another on contact

19.08.2005


Findings have implications for urinary tract infections



Scientists have discovered a new phenomenon in which one bacterial cell can stop the growth of another on physical contact. The bacteria that stop growing may go into a dormant state, rather than dying. The findings have implications for management of chronic diseases, such as urinary tract infections.

The discovery by a team of scientists working in the laboratory of David Low, professor of biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is reported in the August 19 issue of the journal Science. The findings indicate that Escherichia coli, one culprit in urinary tract infections, contains genes that when turned on block the growth of other E. coli bacteria that they touch. The finding was a complete surprise to the scientists, said Low.


The discovery may eventually lead to new antimicrobial agents to halt bacterial growth which would be an entirely new system to shut bacteria down, according to the scientists. "This has potential implications for new antibiotics," said Low. "If bacteria can do this, then maybe we can do it."

Doctoral student and first author Stephanie Aoki, and a team of scientists working in the Low lab, made the discovery while studying other aspects of E. coli. After working for two years, the team identified two genes required for this "stop on contact" phenomenon.

"We don’t know if these ’stopped’ cells are dead or alive," said Low. "They don’t grow after they’ve been touched. They don’t grow on plates, but laboratory stains show they may be alive. You might call them dead, but they don’t break apart the way dead cells do. These cells appear to stay intact, perhaps in a quiescent mode, or dormant state."

Aoki explained, "We are currently exploring how contact between bacteria can inhibit cell growth –– and determining what this contact-dependent inhibition of growth (CDI) system is used for. These genes are present in E. coli, including uropathogenic E. coli that cause urinary tract infections, and similar genes may be present in other pathogens such as the plague bacillus, Yersinia pestis."

Low said that one possible interpretation is that bacteria use this system to eliminate competition in the environments they grow in. "Another possibility is that the bacteria use the CDI system to shut themselves off inside a host, going into a dormant state where they may go undetected by the immune system," he said.

Thousands of women in this country have chronic urinary tract infections, noted the scientists. The disease seems to go away for awhile, then something triggers recurrence of the disease.

Work by Scott Hultrgen at Washington University has indicated that E. coli cells may hide in the walls of the bladder and urinary tract in a dormant state, explained Low. It is possible that the newly discovered CDI system contributes to this process.

"By studying the CDI system, we hope to understand more about how bacteria interact with each other and with their hosts, and how these interactions contribute to disease," said Aoki.

The findings may have repercussions outside of better understanding of urinary tract infections. Other diseases may have similar mechanisms, according to the scientists. "This research is in its infancy, but opens the door for exploration of the roles of contact-dependent growth inhibition in urinary tract infections and possibly other diseases," said Low.

"Aoki has discovered an entirely new phenomenon," explained Low, who has studied E. coli for over 20 years. "It is fascinating that bacteria have developed a system by which one cell can contact another and inhibit its growth."

Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ia.ucsb.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

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

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>