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

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.

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.

Contact: Dan Krotz
DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Research reveals first glimpse of brain circuit that helps experience to shape perception
2. First-of-its-kind web portal to bolster research and treatment for rare diseases
3. First biological marker for major depression could enable better diagnosis and treatment
4. First-ever book on Mekong rattan species aims to promote sustainable practices
5. First 3-D movies of living sperm
6. Nanomotors are controlled, for the first time, inside living cells
7. Intervention in first 1,000 days vital to fulfilling childhood potential
8. Where do lizards in Qatar live? First distribution maps for the state
9. First live births with a novel simplified IVF procedure
10. Finding Israels first camels
11. CU-Boulder researchers sequence worlds first butterfly bacteria, find surprises
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/19/2015)... MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. , Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... authentication market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes BIO-key with the ... Strategy Leadership. Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this ... comprehensive product line catering to the needs of the ... which the product line meets and expands on customer ...
(Date:11/18/2015)... 18, 2015  As new scientific discoveries deepen our ... other healthcare providers face challenges in better using that ... In addition, as more children continue to survive pediatric ... and old age. John M. Maris, M.D ... of Philadelphia (CHOP) . --> John ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... November 17, 2015 Paris ... --> Paris from 17 th ... the biometrics innovation leader, has invented the first combined scanner ... the same scanning surface. Until now two different scanners were ... scanner can capture both on the same surface. This ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015 Researchers at the ... Institute for Brain Research at MIT have engineered changes ... cut down on "off-target" editing errors. The refined technique ... use of genome editing. Science , ... three of the approximately 1,400 amino acids that make ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015 Frost & ... program. This program addresses ways companies can innovate ... --> ... --> ... healthcare, as well as the disrupting factors altering ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Minn. , Dec. 1, 2015  The Minnesota ... recipient of the 2015 Tekne Award in the Small ... at the Minneapolis Convention ... have played a significant role in developing new technologies ... living around the world. Clostridium difficile ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... , Dec. 1, 2015  CardioCell LLC, a ... stem cells for cardiovascular indications, intends to proceed ... based on recommendations from a Heart Failure Advisory ... Scientific Advisory Board members . In a ... Phase IIa safety and efficacy data from CardioCell,s ...
Breaking Biology Technology: