Navigation Links
Backstabbing bacteria: A new treatment for infection?

Selfish bacterial cells that act in their own interests and do not cooperate with their infection-causing colleagues can actually reduce the severity of infection.

The selfish behaviour of these uncooperative bacteria could be exploited to treat antibiotic-resistant infections, according to research being presented at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting today.

Bacteria work together by using a well-studied communication system called Quorum Sensing (QS). During infection, bacteria talk to each other using QS to coordinate the release of toxins.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have discovered that in Staphylococcus aureus infections, bacteria defective in QS can benefit from 'opting out' of toxin production. By doing so, they can invest more energy in reproducing whilst taking advantage of the nutrient-rich infection that is maintained by their neighbours.

By looking after themselves in this way, QS-deficient bacteria are quickly able to outnumber other bacteria that are busy producing toxins. As a result the overall severity of infection is reduced as fewer toxins are produced. "This opens up the interesting possibility of using these uncooperative bacteria to treat infection," said Mr Eric Pollitt who is presenting the study.

The group tested the theory by introducing S. aureus into waxworms that subsequently developed infections. "We found that the QS-deficient bacteria could not only outgrow normal bacteria in the same population, but that they could also invade other cooperating populations to reduce the severity of infection," explained Mr Pollitt. "This means that we could potentially isolate QS-deficient bacteria and use them to treat clinical S. aureus infections."

New approaches for the treatment of S. aureus infections are desperately needed as many strains of the bacterium, such as Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), are resistant to antibiotics. "Importantly, as any treatment involving QS-deficient bacteria would not be based on antibiotics, it could complement current treatments for S. aureus infections," said Mr Pollitt.

Using bacteria to treat bacterial infections is a potentially useful yet paradoxical approach. "It's an interesting concept of 'fighting like with like'," suggested Mr Pollitt. "This work also highlights that the interactions between bacteria during an infection can be just as important as the interactions between the bacteria and the host."


Contact: Laura Udakis
Society for General Microbiology

Related biology news :

1. Breast cancer treatment resistance linked to signaling pathway
2. The dietary supplement genistein can undermine breast cancer treatment
3. Coming soon: Self-guided, computer-based depression treatment
4. Nanodiamond drug device could transform cancer treatment
5. Disinfectants can make bacteria resistant to treatment
6. Scientists from Granada find a potential treatment to prevent diabetes and obesity
7. FSU researchers discovery leads to $1.5 million grant, potential new treatment of liver fibrosis
8. Researchers at National Jewish Health evaluating a treatment
9. National Jewish Health researchers evaluating treatment to help emphysema sufferers breathe easier
10. First comprehensive genomic study of common cold reveals new treatment targets
11. Iowa State researcher develops new treatment method for canine eye diseases
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph ... explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business ... The Internet of Healthy Things . ... smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, ... care delivery, moving care from the hospital or doctor,s ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... announced that Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ... solutions to power its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus ... --> --> ... to provide strategic collaboration in the joint development of ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... GOLETA, California , October 23, 2015 ... and SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) announce a mobile plug and ... captured during interactive real-world tasks SensoMotoric Instruments ... of their established wearable solutions for eye tracking and ... behavior captured with SMI Eye Tracking Glasses 2w ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Jessica Richman and ... early in their initial angel funding process. Now, they are paying it forward ... make early stage investments in the microbiome space. In this, they join ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today ... Green Section Award. Presented annually since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an ... turfgrass. , Clarke, of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... Conference in New York on Wednesday, December ... Helen Torley , president and CEO, will provide a corporate overview. ... New York at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . ... investor relations, will provide a corporate overview. --> th ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic ... (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: