Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Study Discovers Why 'Persister' Cells Never Say Die

Date:
December 15, 2004
Source:
Northeastern University
Summary:
Northeastern University biologist Kim Lewis has discovered the gene that prevents antibiotics from successfully destroying infections within biofilm. For years, scientists have struggled to understand why a certain type of infection – known as biofilms – are often resistant to antibiotics.

BOSTON, Mass. (12-4-04) -- Northeastern University today announced that biologist Kim Lewis has discovered the gene that prevents antibiotics from successfully destroying infections within biofilm. For years, scientists have struggled to understand why a certain type of infection – known as biofilms – are often resistant to antibiotics. Biofilms contain cells that are identical to the infecting cells, but are not corrupted and destroyed by antibiotics. Lewis discovered these “persister” cells, contain a gene (HipA) that generates a toxin (the ReIE toxin) which puts the cell into hibernation and because antibiotics must work on growing cells to destroy them, the hibernating cells can outlast the antibiotic and then repopulate the infection.

Related Articles


The results of the study appears in the most recent issue of the Journal of Bacteriology, titled “Specialized Persister Cells and the Mechanism of Multidrug Tolerance in Escherichia coli.” Lewis, the lead author, worked with NU graduate students Iris Keren, Devang Shaw and Amy Spoering , as well as Niilo Kaldalu of Tartu University in Estonia.

“ The implications for the discovery are significant; medical science is racing the clock against increasingly drug-tolerant infections. Biofilm infections are notoriously difficult to stamp out. Armed with the knowledge of the HipA gene that allows the infections to persist, sometime for years, biologists can look for ways to deactivate the gene and wipe out the infection,” says Lewis.

Biofilm infections, which attach to a surface while encased in a membrane, typically attack surgically implanted medical devices, such as mechanical heart valves or artificial joints. They can also take the form of periodontal disease, ear infections or fatal lung infections. The infection can be nearly impossible to eradicate, requiring implants to be removed at great risk and cost. Deleting or deactivating the HipA gene could save thousands of lives and millions of dollars.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Northeastern University. "New Study Discovers Why 'Persister' Cells Never Say Die." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 December 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041206213515.htm>.
Northeastern University. (2004, December 15). New Study Discovers Why 'Persister' Cells Never Say Die. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041206213515.htm
Northeastern University. "New Study Discovers Why 'Persister' Cells Never Say Die." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/041206213515.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

New Arthropod Fossil Might Be Relative Of Spiders, Scorpions

Newsy (Mar. 29, 2015) A 508-million-year-old arthropod that swam in the Cambrian seas is thought to share a common ancestor with spiders and scorpions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

Vietnam Rice Boom Piles Pressure on Farmers and the Environment

AFP (Mar. 29, 2015) Vietnam&apos;s drive to become the world&apos;s leading rice exporter is pushing farmers in the fertile Mekong Delta to the brink, say experts, with mounting costs to the environment. Duration: 02:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock 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