Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential new target in fight against 'superbug'

Date:
January 30, 2013
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Researchers have discovered how an antibiotic-resistant superbug exploits oxygen-limited conditions in the lungs of patients with severe respiratory disease to thrive.

University of Cambridge researchers have discovered how an antibiotic-resistant superbug exploits oxygen-limited conditions in the lungs of patients with severe respiratory disease to thrive.

Related Articles


It is hoped the discovery could lead to new ways to target the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium, which is responsible for six per cent of healthcare associated infections in NHS patients and has a widespread resistance to many antibiotics.

Infection by P. aeruginosa is a major cause of death in patients with Cystic Fibrosis.

The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and published in Open Biology, shows that an infection pathway in P. aeruginosa is activated when the bug encounters low-oxygen conditions.

Lead investigator Dr Martin Welch, from the University of Cambridge Department of Biochemistry, said: "This is particularly important because the bug is strongly associated with infections in patients with severe respiratory disease; most famously patients with cystic fibrosis -- many of whom eventually succumb to P. aeruginosa infections.

"Counter-intuitively, the lung tissue of such patients is oxygen-limited, so this could trigger the pathway."

P. aeruginosa infection the lungs promotes an inflammatory response that destroys lung tissue.

When the bug encounters low oxygen conditions, a mechanism called the Type III Secretion System (T3SS) is triggered.

The T3SS resembles a molecular-scale 'hypodermic syringe' which is thought to inject toxins directly from the bacterium into the host cell, where they subvert its function and lead to cell death.

The team identified a metabolic 'switch' regulating T3SS activity, called the glyoxylate shunt, which is activated when oxygen is sparse.

When this 'switch' is turned on an enzyme called isocitrate lyase (ICL) is expressed, leading to activation of the T3SS. In the absence of ICL, the T3SS is not turned on in low-oxygen conditions.

Dr Welch added: "The mechanism by which ICL impacts on the T3SS involves a previously unrecognised regulatory pathway.

"Crucially we found that this regulatory pathway also affected the formation of antibiotic-resistant biofilms by P. aeruginosa. This is important because biofilm formation is known to play an important role in the pathology of cystic fibrosis-associated infections. Our study therefore opens up new potential avenues for the development of novel antibacterial therapeutic interventions."

Dr Janet Allen, Director of Research at the Cystic Fibrosis Trust said: "Many people with Cystic Fibrosis will develop Pseudomonas aeruginosa during their lives and it can cause chronic infection, which reduces lung function and therefore life expectancy. The Cystic Fibrosis Trust welcomes this research from the University of Cambridge which helps us to understand more about why this bacterium thrives in the lungs of those with cystic fibrosis, and could in the future lead to more treatments."

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive, said: "By understanding the intriguing mechanisms used by this bacterium during infections, this research could make a profound difference to for those with Cystic Fibrosis and may one day help to save lives."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jade C. S. Chung, Olena Rzhepishevska, Madeleine Ramstedt, and Martin Welch. Type III secretion system expression in oxygen-limited Pseudomonas aeruginosa cultures is stimulated by isocitrate lyase activity. Open Biol., 2013 3:120131 DOI: 10.1098/rsob.120131

Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Potential new target in fight against 'superbug'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130083017.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2013, January 30). Potential new target in fight against 'superbug'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130083017.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "Potential new target in fight against 'superbug'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130130083017.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What's Different About This Latest Ebola Vaccine

What's Different About This Latest Ebola Vaccine

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) — A whole virus Ebola vaccine has been shown to protect monkeys exposed to the virus. Here&apos;s what&apos;s different about this vaccine. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

HIV Outbreak Prompts Public Health Emergency In Indiana

Newsy (Mar. 26, 2015) — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says he will bring additional state resources to help stop the epidemic. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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