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.

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 July 24, 2014 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 July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Dogs Appear To Become Jealous Of Owners' Attention

Newsy (July 23, 2014) A U.C. San Diego researcher says jealousy isn't just a human trait, and dogs aren't the best at sharing the attention of humans with other dogs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Professor Creates Site Revealing Where People's Cats Live

Newsy (July 23, 2014) ​It's called I Know Where Your Cat Lives, and you can keep hitting the "Random Cat" button to find more real cats all over the world. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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