Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers unlock the secret of bacteria's immune system

A team of Université Laval and Danisco researchers has just unlocked the secret of bacteria's immune system. The details of the discovery, which may eventually make it possible to prevent certain bacteria from developing resistance to antibiotics, are presented in today's issue of the scientific journal Nature.

The team led by Professor Sylvain Moineau of Université Laval's Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Bioinformatics showed that this mechanism, called CRISPR/Cas, works by selecting foreign DNA segments and inserting them into very specific locations in a bacterium's genome. These segments then serve as a kind of immune factor in fighting off future invasions by cleaving incoming DNA.

The researchers demonstrated this mechanism using plasmids, DNA molecules that are regularly exchanged by bacteria. The plasmid used in the experiment, which contained a gene for antibiotic resistance, was inserted into bacteria used in making yogurt, Streptococcus thermophilus. Some of the bacteria integrated the segments of DNA from the resistance gene into their genome, and subsequent attempts to reinsert the plasmid into these bacteria failed. "These bacteria had simply been immunized against acquiring the resistance gene, commented Professor Moineau. This phenomenon could explain, among other things, why some bacteria develop antibiotic resistance while others don't."

The CRISPR/Cas immune system also protects bacteria from bacteriophages, a group of viruses that specifically target bacteria. This makes Professor Moineau's discovery particularly interesting for food and biotechnology sectors that use bacterial cultures, such as the yogurt, cheese, and probiotics industries. Bacterial culture contamination by bacteriophages is a serious concern with considerable financial implications for those industries.

In addition to Sylvain Moineau, this study was coauthored by: Josiane Garneau, Marie-Ève Dupuis, Manuela Villion, and Alfonso H. Magadán from Université Laval; Dennis A. Romero, Rodolphe Barrangou, Patrick Boyaval, Christophe Fremaux, and Philippe Horvath from Danisco.

Sylvain Moineau
Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Bioinformatics
Université Laval

Jean-François Huppé | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The gene of autumn colours
27.10.2016 | Hokkaido University

nachricht Polymer scaffolds build a better pill to swallow
27.10.2016 | The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

The gene of autumn colours

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Polymer scaffolds build a better pill to swallow

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>