Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First look at how Staphylococcus cells adhere to nanostructures could help fight infections

Date:
March 4, 2014
Source:
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Summary:
A team of researchers has explored, for the first time, how individual Staphylococcus cells glom onto metallic nanostructures of various shapes and sizes that are not much bigger than the cells themselves. Their work could lead to a more nuanced understanding of what makes a surface less inviting to bacteria. A Staph infection can't start unless Staphylococcus cells first cling to a surface, which is why scientists are hard at work exploring bacteria-resistant materials as a line of defense.

This scanning electron microscopy image reveals how Staphylococcus Aureus cells physically interact with a nanostructure. A bacterial cell (blue) is embedded inside the hollow nanopillar's hole and several cells cling to the nanopillar's curved walls.
Credit: Mofrad lab and the Nanomechanics Research Institute

The bacterium Staphylococcus Aureus (S. aureus) is a common source of infections that occur after surgeries involving prosthetic joints and artificial heart valves. The grape-shaped microorganism adheres to medical equipment, and if it gets inside the body, it can cause a serious and even life-threatening illness called a Staph infection. The recent discovery of drug-resistant strains of S. aureus makes matters even worse.

Related Articles


A Staph infection can't start unless Staphylococcus cells first cling to a surface, however, which is why scientists are hard at work exploring bacteria-resistant materials as a line of defense.

This research has now gone nanoscale, thanks to a team of researchers led by Berkeley Lab scientists. They investigated, for the first time, how individual S. aureus cells glom onto metallic nanostructures of various shapes and sizes that are not much bigger than the cells themselves.

They found that bacterial adhesion and survival rates vary depending on the nanostructure's shape. Their work could lead to a more nuanced understanding of what makes a surface less inviting to bacteria.

"By understanding the preferences of bacteria during adhesion, medical implant devices can be fabricated to contain surface features immune to bacteria adhesion, without the requirement of any chemical modifications," says Mohammad Mofrad, a faculty scientist in Berkeley Lab's Physical Biosciences Division and a professor of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering at UC Berkeley.

Mofrad conducted the research with the Physical Biosciences Division's Zeinab Jahed, the lead author of the study and a graduate student in Mofrad's UC Berkeley Molecular Cell Biomechanics Laboratory, in collaboration with scientists from Canada's University of Waterloo.

Their research was recently published online in the journal Biomaterials.

The scientists first used electron beam lithographic and electroplating techniques to fabricate nickel nanostructures of various shapes, including solid pillars, hollowed-out pillars, c-shaped pillars, and x-shaped columns. These features have outer diameters as small as 220 nanometers. They also created mushroom-shaped nanostructures with tiny stems and large overhangs.

They introduced S. aureus cells to these structures, gave the cells time to stick, and then rinsed the structures with deionized water to remove all but the most solidly bound bacteria.

Scanning electron microscopy revealed which shapes are the most effective at inhibiting bacterial adhesion. The scientists observed higher bacteria survival rates on the tubular-shaped pillars, where individual cells were partially embedded into the holes. In contrast, pillars with no holes had the lowest survival rates.

The scientists also found that S. aureus cells can adhere to a wide range of surfaces. The cells not only adhere to horizontal surfaces, as expected, but to highly curved features, such as the sidewalls of pillars. The cells can also suspend from the overhangs of mushroom-shaped nanostructures.

"The bacteria seem to sense the nanotopography of the surface and form stronger adhesions on specific nanostructures," says Jahed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The original article was written by Dan Krotz. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zeinab Jahed, Peter Lin, Brandon B. Seo, Mohit S. Verma, Frank X. Gu, Ting Y. Tsui, Mohammad R.K. Mofrad. Responses of Staphylococcus aureus bacterial cells to nanocrystalline nickel nanostructures. Biomaterials, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2014.01.080

Cite This Page:

DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "First look at how Staphylococcus cells adhere to nanostructures could help fight infections." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304141950.htm>.
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (2014, March 4). First look at how Staphylococcus cells adhere to nanostructures could help fight infections. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304141950.htm
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "First look at how Staphylococcus cells adhere to nanostructures could help fight infections." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140304141950.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. 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