Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Recruiting E. coli to combat hard-to-treat bacterial infections

Date:
October 2, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
The notorious bacteria E. coli is best known for making people sick, but scientists have reprogrammed the microbe -- which also comes in harmless varieties -- to make it seek out and fight other disease-causing pathogens. This new type of E. coli can even kill off slimy groups of bacteria called biofilms that are responsible for many hard-to-treat infections.

Under a magnification of 6836x, this colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) depicted a number of Gram-negative Escherichia coli bacteria of the strain O157:H7.
Credit: Janice Haney Carr

The notorious bacteria E. coli is best known for making people sick, but scientists have reprogrammed the microbe -- which also comes in harmless varieties -- to make it seek out and fight other disease-causing pathogens. The researchers' report appears in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology and describes development of this new type of E. coli that can even kill off slimy groups of bacteria called biofilms that are responsible for many hard-to-treat infections, such as those that take hold in the lungs, the bladder and on implanted medical devices.

Matthew Wook Chang and colleagues explain that biofilm infections are difficult to treat because the bacteria hide away under a protective barrier of sugars, DNA and proteins. That shield makes them very resistant to conventional therapies. In addition, overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture also have made some bacteria, such as MRSA, shrug off most known treatments, making at least 2 million Americans sick every year. This growing public health threat has motivated scientists to look for new antibiotics and alternative treatments to beat infections. In the past, researchers made bacteria that fight off other microbes, but they had limitations. Chang's team addressed those limitations by making a new kind of bacterial "gun-for-hire" that can sense an infection, swim toward it and kill off the disease-causing microbes.

They reprogrammed E. coli to sense Pseudomonas aeruginosa -- a bacteria that can form biofilms and causes hospital-acquired infections in the lungs and the gut. The new E. coli then swims directly toward P. aeruginosa and launches an attack with an antimicrobial peptide and an enzyme that breaks down biofilms. Though the researchers successfully tested their engineered microbe on P. aeruginosa, they say that their engineering strategy could be used to combat other pathogens as well.

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Medical Research Council of Singapore and the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. In Young Hwang, Mui Hua Tan, Elvin Koh, Chun Loong Ho, Chueh Loo Poh, Matthew Wook Chang. Reprogramming Microbes to Be Pathogen-Seeking Killers. ACS Synthetic Biology, 2013; 130916150641005 DOI: 10.1021/sb400077j

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Recruiting E. coli to combat hard-to-treat bacterial infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131002125505.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, October 2). Recruiting E. coli to combat hard-to-treat bacterial infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131002125505.htm
American Chemical Society. "Recruiting E. coli to combat hard-to-treat bacterial infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131002125505.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Great British Farmland Boom

The Great British Farmland Boom

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 17, 2014) Britain's troubled Co-operative Group is preparing to cash in on nearly 18,000 acres of farmland in one of the biggest UK land sales in decades. As Ivor Bennett reports, the market timing couldn't be better, with farmland prices soaring over 270 percent in the last 10 years. 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:
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