Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research Focuses On Antibiotic-resistant Bacterium And Touches On Longevity

Date:
November 10, 2004
Source:
University Of Texas Medical School At Houston
Summary:
With the help of a tiny roundworm, microbiologist Danielle Garsin searches for weak spots in a tenacious bacterium that thwarts antibiotic attack while threatening hospital patients.

C. elegans.
Credit: Image courtesy of University Of Texas Medical School At Houston

HOUSTON (Nov. 5, 2004) -- With the help of a tiny roundworm, microbiologist Danielle Garsin searches for weak spots in a tenacious bacterium that thwarts antibiotic attack while threatening hospital patients. Her research, which has uncovered a tantalizing potential connection between longevity and resistance to infection, earned Garsin one of only 12 grants awarded in 2004 under the Ellison Foundation New Scholars Program in Global Infectious Diseases.

Related Articles


The assistant professor in the Medical School Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics will receive $50,000 a year for four years to continue her work on Enterococcus faecalis and the roundworm C. elegans.

“E. faecalis is the second or third most common cause of infections that patients contract in hospitals,” Garsin said. “It causes bacteremia (blood infection), urinary tract infections and endocarditis (heart infection) and many strains carry resistance to antibiotics.”

The bacterium employs several methods for sharing DNA, which is how it acquires and spreads traits such as antibiotic resistance. Recently, cases of enterococci spreading vancomycin resistance to other bacteria have been documented. As vancomycin is one of the last antibiotics available to treat infections resistant to everything else, this is of great concern.

By feeding E. facaelis to C. elegans, Garsin works to characterize disease-causing factors in the bacterium and understand genetic pathways of the worm’s innate immune system, which are also found in higher animals. “What we find out about these pathways in C. elegans could apply to innate immunity in humans,” Garsin said.

The bacterium appears to use some of the same virulence factors to cause disease in the millimeter-long worm as it does in mammals. Strains that don’t kill the worms in Garsin’s experiments will be tested in mice. Identification of genetic differences between the virulent and weaker strains could provide avenues for drug discovery.

In a paper in the journal Science last year, Garsin and colleagues showed that a genetic variation in the worm that had been associated with a longer lifespan also confers resistance to E. faecalis and other disease-causing bacteria.

Worms with the genetic mutation enjoyed a five-fold increase in survival over those lacking the variation when both types were infected with E. faecalis.

The heightened resistance to pathogens contributes to the greater longevity of the mutant worms. A similar genetic variation already has been shown to extend the lifespan of mice.

A connection between longevity and resistance to infection makes sense. “As people get older, they generally are more susceptible to infection,” Garsin said. “This is one genetic pathway that you might someday be able to target and achieve pathogen resistance and a longer, healthier life.”

The Ellison award is recognition of Garsin’s ability to look at longstanding problems in new ways, said Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Department Chairman Sam Kaplan, Ph.D. “Not only is the worm model simple in concept but it is strikingly simple in experimental approach. Dr. Garsin has recognized those features and is but one of a handful or researchers in a field that is likely to take off dramatically within the next few years,” Kaplan said.

Garsin, who also is on the faculty of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, joined the Medical School faculty in December after her post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School. One tie to the Medical School predates her arrival. Garsin noted she has collaborated with “one of the leaders in the field of antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” Barbara Murray, M.D., chief of the school’s Division of Infectious Diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas Medical School At Houston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas Medical School At Houston. "Research Focuses On Antibiotic-resistant Bacterium And Touches On Longevity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041108022405.htm>.
University Of Texas Medical School At Houston. (2004, November 10). Research Focuses On Antibiotic-resistant Bacterium And Touches On Longevity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041108022405.htm
University Of Texas Medical School At Houston. "Research Focuses On Antibiotic-resistant Bacterium And Touches On Longevity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041108022405.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
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