Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fight infection by disturbing how bacteria communicate

Date:
December 24, 2009
Source:
University of Groningen
Summary:
Researchers have clarified the structure of an enzyme that disturbs the communication processes between bacteria. By doing so they have laid the foundations for a new method of tackling bacterial infections such as cystic fibrosis.

Researchers from the University of Groningen have clarified the structure of an enzyme that disturbs the communication processes between bacteria. By doing so they have laid the foundations for a new method of tackling bacterial infections such as cystic fibrosis. An article on the structure and function of the so-called quorum-quenching acylase was published on 21 December 2009 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

Although bacteria are simple single-celled organisms, they are capable of communicating with each other. Bacteria talk to each other by exchanging tiny hormone-like signal molecules. By means of this process of 'quorum sensing', the activities of a large group of bacteria are synchronized. Thus bacteria can adapt quickly to changes in their environment such as the running out of nutrients or the arrival of rival microorganisms.

The production of factors that determine the virulence of a bacterium is also controlled by these signal molecules. This enables bacteria to remain invisible to the immune system in the early stages of infection. As soon as the group of informed bacteria -- the quorum -- is sufficiently large, the attack on the infected host is initiated by starting up the production of toxins and other virulence factors.

The quorum-quenching acylase of which the Groningen research team has determined the structure is capable of cutting off these signal molecules. As a result, the communication processes between pathogenic bacteria are disturbed. The enzyme turns out to suppress the virulence of the lung bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the most important pathogen for cystic fibrosis.

The clarified structure of the bacterial jammer provides insight into the precise functioning of the acylase and could be the first step in the development of a new antibacterial therapy.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Bokhove, M., Nadal Jimenez, P., Quax, W.J. and B. W. Dijkstra. The quorum-quenching N-acyl homoserine lactone acylase PvdQ is an Ntn-hydrolase with an unusual substrate-binding pocket. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2009-11839R Early Edition

Cite This Page:

University of Groningen. "Fight infection by disturbing how bacteria communicate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221130216.htm>.
University of Groningen. (2009, December 24). Fight infection by disturbing how bacteria communicate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221130216.htm
University of Groningen. "Fight infection by disturbing how bacteria communicate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221130216.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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