Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sweet Talking: Artificial Vesicles And Bacterial Cells Communicate By Way Of Sugar Components

Date:
June 10, 2008
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
For an organism to develop and function, the individual cells must exchange information, or communicate, with each other. Is it possible to learn their language and "talk to" the cells? Yes it is: Researchers have been able to facilitate a conversation between bacterial cells and artificial polymer vesicles by way of sugar groups on the vesicle surface.

The British scientists took an interesting route to learn more about the "language" of cells: they constructed vesicles, tiny capsules whose outer shell is made of special polymer building blocks. Their special trick: the polymer chains are equipped with side chains bearing glucose units that wind up being exposed on the vesicle surface.
Credit: Copyright Wiley-VCH

For an organism to develop and function, the individual cells must exchange information, or communicate, with each other. Is it possible to learn their language and “talk to” the cells? Yes it is: Cameron Alexander and George Pasparakis at the University of Nottingham (UK) have been able to facilitate a conversation between bacterial cells and artificial polymer vesicles. In the journal Angewandte Chemie they report that this first communication occurred by way of sugar groups on the vesicle surface. The vesicles subsequently transfer information to the cells—in the form of dye molecules.

Complex structures made of many sugar components on the surfaces of cells are the “language” used for processes such as cell recognition, for example, in the differentiation of tissues or the identification of endogenous cells and foreign invaders. Scientists would like to be able to use this glycocode to “address” target cells and to intervene directly in cellular processes to treat diseases or to guide regeneration of damaged tissues.

The British scientists took an interesting route to learn more about the “language” of cells: they constructed vesicles, tiny capsules whose outer shell is made of special polymer building blocks. Their special trick: the polymer chains are equipped with side chains bearing glucose units that wind up being exposed on the vesicle surface.

The researchers brought the vesicles together with bacteria that have glucose-binding proteins on their surface. The behavior of the bacteria varies depending on the polymer’s composition and the size of the vesicles. Among the bacteria were some individuals that enter into very strong bonds with large vesicles. These associated bacteria are then in a position to receive molecular “information” from the vesicles: dye molecules that were previously placed in the vesicles transferred specifically into the interior of these bacteria.

“Our vesicles can be viewed as simple replicas of living cells,” says Alexander, “that can communicate with real cells by way of the glycocode as well as through signal molecules inside the vesicles.” Possible applications include drug transporters that deliver their cargo to specific target cells, or antibiotic transporters that deliver their toxic load exclusively to infectious agents.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. George Pasparakis, Cameron Alexander. Sweet Talking Double Hydrophilic Block Copolymer Vesicles. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2008, 47, 4847%u20134850, 2008, 47, 4847%u20134850 DOI: 10.1002/anie.200801098

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Sweet Talking: Artificial Vesicles And Bacterial Cells Communicate By Way Of Sugar Components." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605105207.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2008, June 10). Sweet Talking: Artificial Vesicles And Bacterial Cells Communicate By Way Of Sugar Components. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605105207.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Sweet Talking: Artificial Vesicles And Bacterial Cells Communicate By Way Of Sugar Components." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080605105207.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
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