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Fighting bacteria's strength in numbers
Date:5/17/2012

s to overwhelm a host? This density assumption, upon which the entire QS field is based, has never been experimentally tested until now."

This ground-breaking research has just been published in the leading international journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It shows for the first time that cell density is an important factor in regulating QS in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Using a combination of special growth media and molecular techniques, the work has shown that QS signalling occurs in low populations of cells but that there is no benefit to the bacteria of doing so. QS is therefore most useful to the bacteria at high cell densities.

A challenge for researchers in the future is to study this in more natural environments such as infections. Bacteria such as P. aeruginosa use QS to control toxin production and this new research helps to explain how certain infections can suddenly turn life threatening due to massive toxin release. This suggests that carefully controlling bacterial population density within infections could be helpful in avoiding toxin-related damage.


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Contact: Emma Rayner
emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk
44-115-951-5793
University of Nottingham
Source:Eurekalert  

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