Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria interrupted: Disabling coordinated behavior and virulence gene expression

Date:
April 22, 2011
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
New research reveals a strategy for disrupting the ability of bacteria to communicate and coordinate the expression of virulence factors. The study may lead to the development of new antibacterial therapeutics.

New research reveals a strategy for disrupting the ability of bacteria to communicate and coordinate the expression of virulence factors. The study, published in the April 22nd issue of the journal Molecular Cell, may lead to the development of new antibacterial therapeutics.

Bacteria use a process called "quorum sensing" to synchronize group behaviors that promote pathogenesis. During the process of quorum sensing, bacteria communicate with one another via chemical signals called autoinducers. As the population increases, so do autoinducer concentrations. Interactions between autoinducers and their receptors control gene expression and underlie coordinated behavior within cell populations.

"Quorum sensing controls virulence factor expression in many clinically relevant pathogens, so quorum sensing antagonists that prevent virulence gene activation offer a potential route to novel antibacterial therapeutics," explains senior study author, Dr. Frederick M. Hughson, from Princeton University. "A handful of quorum sensing antagonists have in fact been discovered, but how they work has remained mysterious." Dr. Hughson's Princeton colleague and co-author of this report, Dr. Bonnie L. Bassler, had previously demonstrated that antagonizing quorum sensing could provide protection from quorum-sensing-mediated killing by the pathogenic bacteria Chromobacterium violaceum. However, before the full therapeutic potential of this approach can be realized, it is necessary to gain a better understanding of exactly how the antagonists disrupt quorum sensing.

Many pathogenic bacteria, including Chromobacterium violaceum, use LuxR family DNA-binding proteins as quorum sensing receptors. In the absence of an autoinducer, LuxR proteins are unstable. However, when an autoinducer binds to LuxR it forms a stable complex that activates virulence genes. Using a battery of methods ranging from genetics to x-ray crystallography, the researchers discovered that the LuxR type protein CviR was potently antagonized by compounds that bound in place of the endogenous autoinducer. The antagonists, unlike the autoinducer, caused CviR to adopt an inactive "closed" conformation that was incapable of binding DNA.

The findings provide insight into the mechanisms that underlie successful antagonism of quorum sensing and may direct development of new antibacterial therapeutics aimed at interfering with bacterial communication. "We demonstrated one successful strategy for inactivating quorum sensing receptors using small drug-like molecules. Small molecules that function analogously to the antagonists we studied could be broadly useful for inhibiting other LuxR-type receptors," concludes Dr. Hughson. "Indeed, this strategy should be readily generalizable to other multi-domain proteins but has not, to our knowledge, previously been demonstrated."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Guozhou Chen, Lee R. Swem, Danielle L. Swem, Devin L. Stauff, Colleen T. O'Loughlin, Philip D. Jeffrey, Bonnie L. Bassler, Frederick M. Hughson. A Strategy for Antagonizing Quorum Sensing. Molecular Cell, Volume 42, Issue 2, 199-209, 22 April 2011 DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2011.04.003

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Bacteria interrupted: Disabling coordinated behavior and virulence gene expression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421122329.htm>.
Cell Press. (2011, April 22). Bacteria interrupted: Disabling coordinated behavior and virulence gene expression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421122329.htm
Cell Press. "Bacteria interrupted: Disabling coordinated behavior and virulence gene expression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421122329.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Washed-Up 'Alien Hairballs' Are Actually Algae

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) Green balls of algae washed up on Sydney, Australia's Dee Why Beach. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

Raw: San Diego Zoo Welcomes Cheetah Cubs

AP (Sep. 20, 2014) The San Diego Zoo has welcomed two Cheetah cubs to its Safari Park. The nearly three-week-old female cubs are being hand fed and are receiving around the clock care. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
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