Every year hundreds of thousands of people die from diarrhoeal diseases caused by ETEC bacteria. A study published in Nature Genetics describes how Swedish researchers have mapped the spread of strains of ETEC bacteria around the world. It provides key information about how pathogenic bacteria arise, which will be important for the Swedish diarrhoea vaccine currently under development.
Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) bacteria are responsible each year for around 400 million cases of diarrhoea and 400,000 deaths in the world's low- and middle-income countries. Children under the age of five are most affected.
ETEC bacteria also cause diarrhoea in nearly one in two travellers to these areas.
Researchers at the University of Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska Academy are world leaders in research into ETEC and have now made a major breakthrough in collaboration with colleagues from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the UK, Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and universities in Japan, Germany and the USA, among others.
A study published in Nature Genetics details how the Gothenburg researchers used comprehensive DNA analyses to reveal the ETEC bacteria's genetic composition – an analysis that also makes it possible to map how the bacteria spread.
Of global benefit
"We can see that some of the dangerous strains of ETEC derive from a single bacterium that has divided and spread right around the world," says Astrid von Mentzer, doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy. "This may sound like bad news, but it actually means that the vaccine that we are developing on the basis of the most common types of bacteria will be of global benefit."
Largets collection of strains
The University of Gothenburg is home to the world's largest collection of strains of ETEC bacteria, comprising more than 3,500 strains from around the world. The present study saw the researchers focusing on a total of 362 strains, which were isolated from children, adults and travellers affected by diarrhoea in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the last 30 years.
"The analysis shows that children, adults and travellers are all affected to the same extent by diarrhoea caused by the different strains of ETEC," says Astrid von Mentzer. "Which would suggest that the vaccine could work for all three groups."
174 years old
The researchers were also able to demonstrate in the study that some of the ETEC groups identified came into existence as far back as 174 years ago. Astrid von Mentzer feels that this new information about the genetic composition of ETEC bacteria and how they spread means that we are a step closer to reducing the prevalence of diarrhoeal diseases worldwide.
The research project is a successful collaboration between the University of Gothenburg and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge in the UK, which is a world leader in sequencing.
The article Identification of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) clades with long-term global distribution was published in Nature Genetics on 10 November.
Link to the journal: http://www.nature.com/ng/index.html
Astrid von Mentzer, doctoral student at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg
+46 (0)769 410 890
+46 (0)31 786 62 21
Åsa Sjöling, researcher at Karolinska Institutet
+46 (0)702 345 815
Image above: The research on a new diarrhea vaccine is done in close collaboration with researchers and local people in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many children in Dhaka lack clean water and proper toilets. ETEC diarrhea and other diseases are very common.
Henrik Axlid | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy