Their discovery of Salmonella's weakness for sugar could provide a new way to vaccinate against it. The discovery could also lead to vaccine strains to protect against other disease-causing bacteria, including superbugs.
"This is the first time that anyone has identified the nutrients that sustain Salmonella while it is infecting a host's body," says Dr Arthur Thompson from the Institute of Food Research.
The nutrition of bacteria during infection is an emerging science. This is one of the first major breakthroughs, achieved in collaboration with Dr. Gary Rowley at the University of East Anglia.
Salmonella food poisoning causes infection in around 20 million people worldwide each year and is responsible for about 200,000 human deaths. It also infects farm animals and attaches to salad vegetables.
During infection, Salmonella bacteria are engulfed by immune cells designed to kill them. But instead the bacteria multiply.
Salmonella must acquire nutrients to replicate. The scientists focused on glycolysis, the process by which sugars are broken down to create chemical energy. They constructed Salmonella mutants unable to transport glucose into the immune cells they occupy and unable to use glucose as food. These mutant strains lost their ability to replicate within immune cells, rendering them harmless
"Our experiments showed that glucose is the major sugar used by Salmonella during infection," said Dr Thompson.
The mutant strains still stimulate the immune system, and the scientists have filed patents on them which could be used to develop vaccines to protect people and animals against poisoning by fully virulent Salmonella.
Glycolysis occurs in most organisms including other bacteria that occupy host cells. Disrupting how the bacteria metabolise glucose could therefore be used to create vaccine strains for other pathogenic bacteria, including superbugs.
The harmless strains could also be used as vaccine vectors. For example, the flu gene could be expressed within the harmless Salmonella strain and safely delivered to the immune system.
The next stage of the research will be to test whether the mutants elicit a protective immune response in mice.
In Germany the nutrition of bacteria is the subject of a six-year priority programme of research to investigate why bacteria are able to multiply inside a host's body to cause disease.
The IFR is an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). This research was funded by a Core Strategic Grant from BBSRC.
Andrew Chapple | EurekAlert!
Historical rainfall levels are significant in carbon emissions from soil
30.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin
3D printer inks from the woods
30.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt
Scientists have developed a new method of characterizing graphene’s properties without applying disruptive electrical contacts, allowing them to investigate both the resistance and quantum capacitance of graphene and other two-dimensional materials. Researchers from the Swiss Nanoscience Institute and the University of Basel’s Department of Physics reported their findings in the journal Physical Review Applied.
Graphene consists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It is transparent, harder than diamond and stronger than steel, yet flexible, and a significantly better...
The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.
The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Life Sciences
30.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy