Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Predator-producing bacteria may be battling in human intestines

Date:
December 11, 2012
Source:
University of Texas at Arlington
Summary:
Researchers have found that a bacteriophage unique to the Enterococcus faecalis strain V583 acts as a predator, infecting and harming similar, competing bacteria. They believe these lab results suggest what goes on in the human intestine.

Jorge Rodrigues.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Texas at Arlington

Unique viruses called bacteriophages may play an important role in competition among bacterial strains, influencing the overall ecosystem of the human intestine, scientists at The University of Texas at Arlington and UT Southwestern Medical Center say.

A team led by Lora V. Hooper, an associate professor of immunology and microbiology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and including UT Arlington assistant professor of biology Jorge Rodrigues examined the bacteriophages, or phages, produced by genetic information harbored in the chromosome of the mammalian gut bacterium Enterococcus faecalis. They found that a phage unique to Enterococcus faecalis strain V583 in mice acts as a predator, infecting and harming other similar, competing bacterial strains. They believe these lab results suggest what goes on in the human intestine.

"This organism is using phage as a way to compete in your gut. If the phage is released and gets rid of all the other microbes, then strain V583 will have more nutrients available," Rodrigues said. "It opens up new questions about the role of phages in the gut system. Ultimately, you could use this as a technique to control bacteria in a natural way."

The findings were presented in October in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in a paper called, "A composite bacteriophage alters colonization by an intestinal commensal bacterium." Other co-authors were members of Hooper's lab: Breck A. Duerkop, Charmaine V. Clements and Darcy Rollins.

"Now that we've established the role of these bacteriophages, our team is working on trying to discover the specific triggers that lead to phage production in the gut," said Hooper, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. "We also want to understand whether there are other phages that play a role in shaping the composition of gut bacterial communities."

Bacteria are abundant in the human gastrointestinal tract, and scientists are increasingly trying to understand their role in human health. Of those bacteria, Enterococcus faecalis, also known as E. faecalis, can constitute as much as 0.5 to 0.9 percent of gut microflora, according to the researchers. Outside of the gut, E. faecalis can cause dangerous infections, such as endocarditis, and is often resistant to standard antibiotics like vancomycin.

The Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health and the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation supported the work described in the recent paper.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. B. A. Duerkop, C. V. Clements, D. Rollins, J. L. M. Rodrigues, L. V. Hooper. A composite bacteriophage alters colonization by an intestinal commensal bacterium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; 109 (43): 17621 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1206136109

Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Arlington. "Predator-producing bacteria may be battling in human intestines." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211193514.htm>.
University of Texas at Arlington. (2012, December 11). Predator-producing bacteria may be battling in human intestines. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211193514.htm
University of Texas at Arlington. "Predator-producing bacteria may be battling in human intestines." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121211193514.htm (accessed July 26, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

How to Make Single Serving Smoothies: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 24, 2014) Smoothies are a great way to get in lots of healthy ingredients, plus they taste great! Howdini has a trick for making the perfect single-size smoothie that will save you time on cleanup too! All you need is a blender and a mason jar. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Boy Attacked by Shark in Florida

Reuters - US Online Video (July 24, 2014) An 8-year-old boy is bitten in the leg by a shark while vacationing at a Florida beach. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Goma Cheese Brings Whiff of New Hope to DRC

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 24, 2014) The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo, mainly known for conflict and instability, is an unlikely place for the production of fine cheese. But a farm in the village of Masisi, in North Kivu is slowly transforming perceptions of the area. Known simply as Goma cheese, the Congolese version of Dutch gouda has gained popularity through out the region. Ciara Sutton reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Tyrannosaur Pack-Hunting Theory Aided By New Footprints

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A new study claims a set of prehistoric T-Rex footprints supports the theory that the giant predators hunted in packs instead of alone. 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