In this respect, E. coli is a model bacterium to study the continuum between commensal and pathogenic bacteria. Researchers at INRA in Toulouse, in collaboration with German universities in Würzburg and Göttingen and the Institut Pasteur in Paris, have shown for the first time that both commensal and pathogenic E. coli produce a substance which is toxic to the DNA in eukaryotic cells. The bacteria producing this toxin thus induce DNA breaks in host cells and disturb the cell cycle. This slowdown of eukaryotic cell proliferation may enhance bacterial colonization of the intestine. On the other hand, if these breaks are not repaired, they could give rise to a high level of mutations, which are the principal factors triggering cancer in man. The details of this work have been published in Science, August 11th 2006.
Colibactin, a new toxin which affects the host cell cycle
Certain strains of E. coli produce a toxin, which induces a toxic effect in host cells, characterised by gradual cell enlargement following the arrest of cell proliferation. INRA researchers in Toulouse, in collaboration with teams at the German universities of Würzburg and Göttingen and the Institut Pasteur in Paris, have demonstrated that these bacterial strains possess a "genomic island" in their genome, which contains all genes allowing the biosynthesis of a new toxin, which they have called "Colibactin". The researchers have shown that the bacteria producing this toxin induce serious lesions to the DNA of host cells, causing a blockade of the cell cycle of infected cells. Colibactin belongs to a new family of bacterial toxins, which are able to act on the cell cycle of eukaryotic cells. The INRA researchers have proposed to call this family the "cyclomodulins".
Colibactin is a non-protein toxin. The genes carried by the genomic island code for several enzymes belonging to the family of "polyketide synthetases" (PKS) and "nonribosomal polypeptide synthetases" (NRPS). Compounds arising from these biosynthetic pathways constitute a large family of natural products with a very broad range of biological activities and pharmacological properties. This family comprises numerous molecules which are of importance both agronomically (anti-parasite substances, such as avermectin) and medically (e.g. immunosuppressants, cholesterol-lowering agents, anticancer compounds and antibiotics (cyclosporine, lovastatin, bleomycin, erythromycin, etc.). This is the first time that an enzyme system of this type, producing a molecule active on eukaryote cells, has been characterised in E. coli, a bacterial species where genetic engineering is well mastered. This discovery provides a biotechnological key to producing new compounds of interest, and has been the subject of a patent application. It opens the way to novel therapeutic approaches as well as preventive opportunities.
Infectious diseases, cancer and anti-proliferative effects: is there a role for bacteria producing cyclomodulins?
The work reported in Science also raises an important question for public health. DNA double strand breaks are dangerous lesions affecting eukaryotic cells; if these are not repaired, they give rise to a high level of mutations, which are the principal triggers of cancer in man. Colibactin is produced by both commensal E. coli in the intestinal flora and pathogenic strains which are responsible for septicaemia, urinary tract infections and meningitis. The presence of these bacteria in the commensal flora may therefore constitute a predisposing factor for the development of certain cancers. Thus bacterial flora may participate in the development, differentiation and homeostasis of mucosa and hence the development of certain types of cancer, or protection against them.
Céline Goupil | alfa
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
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...
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...
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...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction