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Cholera and related diseases: Grasping bacterial 'friending' paves the way to disrupt biofilm creation

Date:
February 12, 2010
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
Finding a biological mechanism much like an online social network, scientists have identified the bacterial protein VpsT as the master regulator in Vibrio, the cause of cholera and other enteric diseases. This discovery provides a major tool to combat enteric disease.

Finding a biological mechanism much like an online social network, scientists have identified the bacterial protein VpsT as the master regulator in Vibrio, the cause of cholera and other enteric diseases. This discovery, now published in the journal Science, provides a major tool to combat enteric disease.

For decades, it has been observed that bacteria engage in biofilm formation in nature and the lab. Like the online social network Facebook, free-swimming bacteria ditch the solitary lifestyle to form a biofilm community, but only after they've signaled their intention to do so to others. The protein VpsT receives the invitation and accepts it by starting a cellular program facilitating the process. "We have the parts list now," said Holger Sondermann, professor at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine. "The next step will be to develop a clear understanding of the triggers and processes that regulate biofilm formation. With this data, we can find opportunities to disrupt the process and find entry points for therapeutic interventions."

Thus, bacteria hunker down with millions of other bacteria to form a biofilm community powerful enough to fog your contacts, rot your teeth, corrode metal and cause a host of human and animal diseases. Biofilms have been implicated in numerous chronic infections including cystic fibrosis, otitis media and prostatitis. Through interactions within a biofilm, the resident population of bacteria is likely to benefit from increased metabolic efficiency, substrate accessibility, enhanced resistance to environmental stress and antibiotics and an increased ability to cause infection and disease, says Sondermann.

In addition to Sondermann, it was also authored by Petya Krasteva, first author, a graduate student in biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology, and by Marcos V. A. S. Navarro, a postdoctoral fellow in the Sondermann group. The work is a close collaboration with Fitnat H. Yildiz's laboratory at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and her a postdoctoral fellow Jiunn C. N. Fong, and her graduate students Nicholas J. Shikuma and Sinem Beyhan.

The project was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Pew Foundation.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Petya Krasteva. Vibrio cholerae VpsT Regulates Matrix Production and Motility by Directly Sensing Cyclic di-GMP. Science, Feb. 12, 2010

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Cholera and related diseases: Grasping bacterial 'friending' paves the way to disrupt biofilm creation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211141142.htm>.
Cornell University. (2010, February 12). Cholera and related diseases: Grasping bacterial 'friending' paves the way to disrupt biofilm creation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211141142.htm
Cornell University. "Cholera and related diseases: Grasping bacterial 'friending' paves the way to disrupt biofilm creation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100211141142.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

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