No hiding place for infecting bacteria

Mar 16, 2009

Scientists in Colorado have discovered a new approach to prevent bacterial infections from taking hold. Writing in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, Dr Quinn Parks and colleagues describe how they used enzymes against products of the body's own defence cells to prevent Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria from building a protective biofilm which enables them to avoid both the body's immune mechanisms and antibiotics.

When the body's defence , called neutrophils, attack P. aeruginosa, the cell contents - including a protein called F-actin and the cell's DNA - are released. P. aeruginosa uses these cell proteins as a scaffold to build a protective biofilm making these infections very difficult to treat. P. aeruginosa biofilms cause disease in burns, wounds, contact lens infections and are particularly prevalent in the lungs of patients.

"We specifically targeted the F-actin protein with a negatively charged peptide, and the DNA with the enzyme DNase, which both prevented and disrupted the formation of P. aeruginosa biofilms in the presence of human neutrophils." said Dr Parks. "These results suggest a new combined therapeutic strategy for the treatment of P. aeruginosa infections.

Source: Society for General Microbiology

Explore further: The malaria pathogen's cellular skeleton under a super-microscope

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Protein opens hope of treatment for cystic fibrosis patients

Sep 11, 2008

Scientists have finally identified a direct role for the missing protein that leaves cystic fibrosis patients open to attack from lung-damaging bacteria, the main reason most of them die before their 35th birthday, scientists ...

Research promising for cystic fibrosis

Mar 18, 2008

New University of Toronto research holds promise for developing innovative therapies against cystic fibrosis and may also serve as a model for future therapies against the HIV virus.

The bacteria can cheat on their mates

Nov 15, 2007

Pursuing our own short term interests by cheating on the rest of the population is not the preserve of the human race. It seems bacteria can operate in just the same way.

Trojan horse strategy defeats drug-resistant bacteria

Mar 16, 2007

A new antimicrobial approach can kill bacteria in laboratory experiments and eliminate life-threatening infections in mice by interfering with a key bacterial nutrient, according to research led by a University of Washington ...

Recommended for you

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

13 hours ago

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th h ...

Rapid and accurate mRNA detection in plant tissues

15 hours ago

Gene expression is the process whereby the genetic information of DNA is used to manufacture functional products, such as proteins, which have numerous different functions in living organisms. Messenger RNA (mRNA) serves ...

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

Apr 16, 2014

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Deadly human pathogen Cryptococcus fully sequenced

Within each strand of DNA lies the blueprint for building an organism, along with the keys to its evolution and survival. These genetic instructions can give valuable insight into why pathogens like Cryptococcus ne ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...