A recent study led by a Syracuse University biologist sheds new light on the process. The scientists discovered that a complex cascade of enhancer binding proteins (EBPs) is responsible for turning on genes that initiate the formation of a biofilm. The study was published June 13 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific serials.
The National Science Foundation is funding the research (link to article: http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2011/06/07/1105876108.abstract?sid=dbfeeb94-6f1e-44c8-b610-d39a98acbd88).
"We've discovered a complex regulatory cascade of EBPs that is designed to be highly responsive to environmental signals," says Anthony Garza, associate professor of biology in SU's College of Arts and Sciences and corresponding author for the study. "The regulatory circuit we identified is very different from that which has previously been seen." Garza's research team includes scientists from the University of Miami School of Medicine, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Stanford University School of Medicine.
Garza's team discovered that the regulatory network that signals biofilm development is quite complex and akin to that which is normally found in higher organisms. "Bacterial cells that form biofilms require cooperative behavior similar to cells in more complex organisms," he says. "We knew EBPs were important in initiating biofilm development, and that there was a connection between EBPs and specific biofilm genes. But we didn't know how the EBP regulatory circuit was put together." Garza's team has also begun to identify the signals that activate the EBP circuitry and the corresponding biofilm genes. Those studies are forthcoming.
The work to uncover how biofilms are genetically initiated is key to developing new ways to prevent and/or treat infected surfaces, Garza says. Bacteria are stimulated to organize into biofilms by several mechanisms, including starvation, high nutrient levels, tissue recognition, and quorum or cell-density signaling. Because it takes a lot of energy to organize, bacteria need to be certain conditions are optimal before initiating the biofilm process.
For example, Garza explains, bacterial cells can recognize desirable host tissue, such as lung tissue. Once there, the cells look around to see if enough of their buddies are around to form a biofilm. In this case, both tissue recognition and quorum signaling is at work in initiating the process.
"Unfortunately, biofilms can be up to a thousand times more antibiotic resistant than free-living bacteria," Garza says. "Once established, biofilms are extremely resistant to killing agents—chemicals, cleaners, antibiotics. The key to preventing their development is in understanding how they get started."
The College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University is a highly selective liberal arts college at the center of a major research university. With a curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary learning, research, service, and enterprise, The College prepares students for the global workplace and for continued study in graduate and post-baccalaureate professional programs.
Judy Holmes | EurekAlert!
Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
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...
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...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine