Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hydrogen-powered invasion by salmonella bacteria

Date:
December 11, 2013
Source:
ETH Zurich
Summary:
Although humankind is only just beginning to use hydrogen as an energy source, the concept has been established in nature for a long time. Researchers have discovered that the diarrhea-causing bacterium Salmonella uses hydrogen as a source of energy to colonize the intestine.

By metabolising mucin glycoproteins and complex carbohydrates, the microbiota deliver the energy source (hydrogen, H2) for Salmonella to invade the intestine.
Credit: Illustration: Lisa Maier / ETH Zurich

The intestine is bustling with billions of intestinal bacteria that aid digestion and keep it healthy. A vast array of microorganisms (microbiota) colonise the intestine so densely that pathogens do not usually stand a chance of multiplying. However, some pathogens, such as the diarrhea-causing bacterium Salmonella Typhimurium, still manage to invade this densely populated ecosystem. Researchers at ETH Zurich are a step closer to finding out how they do this trick and discovered where the pathogen obtains the energy from for its attack.

Related Articles


Wolf-Dietrich Hardt, Professor of Microbiology at ETH Zόrich, together with his PhD student Lisa Maier, examined which factors play a role in the early stages of a Salmonella attack. During the invasion of the intestinal ecosystem, Salmonella Typhimurium uses an enzyme that helps it to assert itself against microbiota: the hydrogenase enzyme, which converts hydrogen into energy. "Although we already knew that Salmonella Typhimurium can use hydrogen in addition to many other sources of energy, it was not clear which source of energy it used during this early stage of intestinal colonisation," explains Maier.

Theft-based hydrogen economy

Hydrogen is created in the intestine as a chemical intermediate of the microbiota's normal metabolism. "Salmonella therefore operates a theft-based hydrogen economy by stealing energy from the microbiota to assert itself," says Hardt. Because the microbiota metabolism of most animals works in a similar way, the pathogen can find the necessary energy source for its initial attack in any new animal host.

Once Salmonella Typhimurium has managed to multiply inside the intestine, the bacterium invades the intestinal tissue and causes infection and diarrhea. In some cases, Salmonella Typhimurium even finds its way into the bloodstream and internal organs. However, animal experiments have shown that the energy boost from hydrogen does not play an essential role during this process. "Outside the intestinal lumen, Salmonella Typhimurium does not have to create space for itself in a dense community of microorganisms," explains Maier.

The Achilles' heel of intestinal flora

The hydrogenase enzyme is also found in other bacteria, such as Escherichia coli and Helicobacter pylori, which causes stomach ulcers. The researchers therefore suspect that other pathogens also use the hydrogen produced by intestinal flora as a source of energy. This would make the microbiota's own metabolism an Achilles' heel in the defence against a range of germs.

"The purpose of intestinal flora is to protect against infection. However, we are now seeing for the first time that it can also facilitate infections by serving as an unintentional energy provider," says Hardt. The interaction between microbiota and pathogens is thus more complex than initially thought.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ETH Zurich. The original article was written by Angelika Jacobs. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maier L, Vyas R, Cordova CD, Lindsay H, Schmidt TSB, Brugiroux S, Periaswamy B, Bauer R, Sturm A, Schreiber F, von Mering C, Robinson MD, Stecher B, Hardt WD. Microbiota-Derived Hydrogen Fuels Salmonella Typhimurium Invasion of the Gut Ecosystem. Cell Host & Microbe, 2013 DOI: 1016/j.chom.2013.11.002

Cite This Page:

ETH Zurich. "Hydrogen-powered invasion by salmonella bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211131618.htm>.
ETH Zurich. (2013, December 11). Hydrogen-powered invasion by salmonella bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211131618.htm
ETH Zurich. "Hydrogen-powered invasion by salmonella bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131211131618.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) — As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. 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

 

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