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!
Navigational view of the brain thanks to powerful X-rays
18.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Separating methane and CO2 will become more efficient
18.10.2017 | KU Leuven
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy