Bacteria are traditionally considered unicellular organisms. However, increasing experimental evidence indicates that bacteria seldom behave as isolated organisms. Instead, they are members of a community in which the isolated organisms communicate among themselves, thereby manifesting some multi-cellular behaviors.
In an article published Friday (Oct. 26) in the journal Science, the Hebrew University scientists describe the new communication factor they have discovered that is produced by the intestinal bacteria Escherichia coli. The new factor is secreted by the bacteria and serves as a communication signal between single bacterial cells.
The research was carried out by a group headed by Prof. Hanna Engelberg-Kulka of the Department of Molecular Biology at the Hebrew University –Hadassah Medical School. It includes Ph.D. student Ilana Kolodkin-Gal , and a previous Ph.D. student, Dr Ronen Hazan. In addition, the research included Dr Ariel Gaathon from the Facilities Unit of the Medical School.The communication factor formed by Escherichia coli enables the activation of a built-in “suicide module” which is located on the bacterial chromosome and is esponsible for bacterial cell death under stressful conditions. Therefore, the new factor has been designated EDF (Extra-cellular Death Factor).
While suicidal cell death is counterproductive for the individual bacterial cell, it becomes effective for the bacterial community as a whole by the simultaneous action of a group of cells that are signaled by EDF. Under stressful conditions in which the EDF is activated, a major sub-population within the bacterial culture dies, allowing the survival of the population as a whole.
Understanding how the EDF functions may provide a lead for a new and more efficient class of antibiotics that specifically trigger bacterial cell death in the intestine bacteria Escherichia coli and probably in many other bacteria, including those pathogens that also carry the “suicide module.”
The discovered communication factor is a novel biological molecule, noted Prof Engelberg-Kulka. It is a peptide (a very small protein) that is produced by the bacteria. The chemical characterization of the new communication factor was particularly difficult for the researchers because of two main reasons: it is present in the bacterial culture in minute amounts, and the factor decomposes under the conditions that are routinely used during standard chemical characterization methods. Therefore, it was necessary to develop a new specific method. The research has also identified several bacterial genes that are involved in the generation of the communication factor, said Prof. Engelberg-Kulka. .
The research on this project was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF), and the American National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Jerry Barach | alfa
TSRI researchers develop new method to 'fingerprint' HIV
29.03.2017 | Scripps Research Institute
Periodic ventilation keeps more pollen out than tilted-open windows
29.03.2017 | Technische Universität München
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
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...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences