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Syracuse University biologist discovers key regulators for biofilm development
Date:6/24/2011

idn't know how the EBP regulatory circuit was put together." Garza's team has also begun to identify the signals that activate the EBP circuitry and the corresponding biofilm genes. Those studies are forthcoming.

The work to uncover how biofilms are genetically initiated is key to developing new ways to prevent and/or treat infected surfaces, Garza says. Bacteria are stimulated to organize into biofilms by several mechanisms, including starvation, high nutrient levels, tissue recognition, and quorum or cell-density signaling. Because it takes a lot of energy to organize, bacteria need to be certain conditions are optimal before initiating the biofilm process.

For example, Garza explains, bacterial cells can recognize desirable host tissue, such as lung tissue. Once there, the cells look around to see if enough of their buddies are around to form a biofilm. In this case, both tissue recognition and quorum signaling is at work in initiating the process.

"Unfortunately, biofilms can be up to a thousand times more antibiotic resistant than free-living bacteria," Garza says. "Once established, biofilms are extremely resistant to killing agentschemicals, cleaners, antibiotics. The key to preventing their development is in understanding how they get started."


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Contact: Judy Holmes
jlholmes@syr.edu
315-443-8085
Syracuse University
Source:Eurekalert

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