Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ant-Fungus Relationship May Provide New Clues About Antibiotics

Date:
April 22, 1999
Source:
University Of Toronto
Summary:
The discovery of an ancient association between an antibiotic-producing bacterium and fungus-growing ants may provide new insight into the identification, production and use of antibiotics, according to a study in the April 22 issue of Nature.

The discovery of an ancient association between an antibiotic-producing bacterium and fungus-growing ants may provide new insight into the identification, production and use of antibiotics, according to a study in the April 22 issue of Nature.

The 50-million-year-old relationship between fungus-growing, or attine, ants and the fungus they cultivate and eat has long been considered a model of symbiosis. But researchers at the University of Toronto have found that another factor-- Streptomyces bacteria-- maintains this mutualism. Carried on the ants' bodies, the bacterium produces an antibiotic that specifically targets the virulent parasite that invades the fungal gardens, thereby protecting the fungus that sustains the ants.

"Since the complexity of this well-studied symbiotic relationship was greatly underestimated this suggests that antibiotic-producing bacteria may also be key components in symbiotic associations of other organisms," said principal investigator Cameron Currie, a graduate student in the department of botany.

Currie and his team studied 22 species of attine ants in Panama in 1997 and 1998, all of which had the bacterium. "The type of bacteria found on the ants are a well-known source for human antibiotics," he said, "so further study of these chemical interactions may provide valuable new knowledge about the discovery and application of antibiotics." Currie's co-investigators were graduate student James Scott and Professor David Malloch of botany and Dr. Richard Summerbell of U of T's department of laboratory medicine and pathobiology and the Ontario Ministry of Health. While in Panama Currie worked at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Funding was provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Toronto. "Ant-Fungus Relationship May Provide New Clues About Antibiotics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990421112504.htm>.
University Of Toronto. (1999, April 22). Ant-Fungus Relationship May Provide New Clues About Antibiotics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990421112504.htm
University Of Toronto. "Ant-Fungus Relationship May Provide New Clues About Antibiotics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990421112504.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins