Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Linking microbial sex and virulence

Date:
September 23, 2010
Source:
American Society for Microbiology
Summary:
Two opportunistic pathogens that were once thought to be very different have evolved some sexual reproduction and disease-causing habits that are not only similar but also suggest that in the microbial world sex and virulence are closely linked, according to new research.

Two opportunistic pathogens that were once thought to be very different have evolved some sexual reproduction and disease-causing habits that are not only similar but also suggest that in the microbial world sex and virulence are closely linked, according to a review published this week in the online journal mBio™.

Related Articles


"Although the mechanisms used by bacterial and fungal species to promote genetic exchange are distinct, recent studies have uncovered surprising parallels between pheromone signaling in these species," says Richard Bennett of Brown University who co-authored the article with Gary Dunny of the University of Minnesota.

Sexual reproduction in bacteria involves the joining of two parent cells and the exchange of genetic materials. In sexual reproduction, the offspring will have a mixture of the parent cells' traits. Most bacteria reproduce asexually by simple cell division so that the newly formed cells carry the exact genetic makeup of the original cells.

Bennett's primary area of research is focused on understanding the sexual reproductive cycle of the opportunistic human pathogen Candida albicans, a yeast that generally grows harmlessly in the human digestive tract but under certain circumstances can cause disease. Dunny studies genetic transfer and virulence in Enterococcus faecalis, a bacterium that, like C. albicans, is a common component of the digestive tract but can also cause life-threatening opportunistic infections.

Telesensing, or probing of the environment by releasing chemical messengers such as pheromones, plays a central role in the sexual reproduction of microorganisms. In the review Bennett and Dunny examine recent evidence that indicates that these two very different microorganisms actually show similar modes of pheromone signaling to regulate the exchange of genetic material. More importantly, they make the connection to evidence that shows these same mechanisms can be used by the pathogens to cause disease.

"It is now apparent that pheromone signaling not only controls sexual reproduction and genetic exchange but can also activate expression of potential virulence factors in diverse opportunistic pathogens," say the authors. "It will therefore prove revealing to determine whether other microbes have adapted their mating machinery for novel purposes, with particular emphasis on the role of these processes in opportunistic pathogens that colonize and infect the human host."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Bennett et al. Analogous Telesensing Pathways Regulate Mating and Virulence in Two Opportunistic Human Pathogens. mBio, 2010; 1 (4): e00181-10 DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00181-10

Cite This Page:

American Society for Microbiology. "Linking microbial sex and virulence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908132220.htm>.
American Society for Microbiology. (2010, September 23). Linking microbial sex and virulence. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908132220.htm
American Society for Microbiology. "Linking microbial sex and virulence." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100908132220.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

Surfer Accidentally Stands on Shark, Gets Bitten

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A 20-year-old competition surfer said on Thursday he accidentally stepped on a shark's head before it bit him off the Australian east coast. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

Ebola Inflicts Heavy Toll on Guinean Potato Trade

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) The Ebola epidemic has seen Senegal and Guinea Bissau close its borders with Guinea and the economic consequences have started to be felt, especially in Fouta Djallon, where the renowned potato industry has been hit hard. Duration: 02:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Genetically Altered Glowing Flower on Display in Tokyo

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 30, 2014) Just in time for Halloween, a glowing flower goes on display in Tokyo. Instead of sorcery and magic, its creators used science to genetically modify the flower, adding a naturally fluorescent plankton protein to its genetic mix. Ben Gruber 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