Bacteria are able to form colonies – called biofilms – on the implanted device, which can lead to wider infections such as endocarditis, a bacterial infection of the heart.
Research led by scientists in the Department of Biology at the University of York has shed new light on how these “biofilm” structures are formed. Biofilms help the bacteria within to avoid attack from the immune system and antibiotics.
Often the only way to tackle the resulting infection is to remove the affected device, which can be a difficult and invasive process.
The team from the University of York, led by Professor Jennifer Potts, included British Heart Foundation-funded PhD student Dominika Gruszka. They found that the bacteria release long, thin protein chains to connect with other bacteria or mesh with other bacterial products. The chains have a highly unusual repetitive structure which could not have been predicted and provides important clues to how they might work.
A similar protein is found on the surface of Staphylococcus epidermidis, another bacterium commonly found in device infections.
Professor Potts, a BHF Senior Research Fellow, said: “This discovery provides an important step forward in understanding how biofilms form. It should help in the development of new ways of preventing infection of cardiac devices by these bacteria.”
Dr Hélène Wilson, Research Advisor at the British Heart Foundation, which co-funded the study, said:
"These clusters of bacteria on implanted devices can be a problem for heart patients because they are very difficult to treat with antibiotics. Often the only way to tackle the infection is to remove the affected device, which can be a difficult and invasive process and lead to further complications.
"This discovery is an important step towards improving our understanding of how these biofilms are structured, which could help lead to new treatments or new ways to prevent them forming."
The research, which also involved scientists at Trinity College and the Universities of Cambridge, Huddersfield, Leeds, is published in PNAS Online Early Edition.
David Garner | EurekAlert!
Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Chemists at FAU successfully demonstrate imine hydrogenation with inexpensive main group metal
22.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.
Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...
A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.
Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.05.2018 | Information Technology
18.05.2018 | Information Technology