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Genes involved in biofilms

The biologist Alejandro Toledo Arana has identified two new genes that operate as regulators in the formation process of the biofilm of Staphylococcus aureus, one of the bacteria most frequently involved in infections following medical implants, and has explained the functioning of a structural protein involved in this process. His research was the subject of a PhD thesis recently defended at the Institute of Agribiotechnology, a joint CSIC and Public University of Navarra centre, and is an advance in the race to identify action targets for the development of pharmaceutical drugs to combat these infections.

The PhD, entitled Identification and characterisation of new factors involved in the processes of formation of biofilm from Gram-positive bacteria.

Chronic infections

Biofilms are communities of microorganisms in a matrix that joins them together and to living or inert substrates, points out Alejandro Toledo. Although they are widely found in nature, and in many cases have beneficial effects, their study has been boosted on discovering their relation to chronic infections associated to medical implants such as those tissues involving infections of the middle ear, of the prostate gland, pneumonia in patients with cystic fibrosis, osteomyelitis, etc.

In the interior of the biofilm, bacteria present greater resistance to antibiotics, to the opsonisation by antibodies and to phagocytosis, which explains the chronic character of these infections, states the author of the PhD.

The aim of the PhD was the characterisation of the process of formation of the Staphylococcus aureus biofilm.

Regulating mechanisms unknown to date

The starting point for the research was the Bap protein (Biofilm associated protein). Bap, according to the thesis, presents a structural organisation similar to other surface proteins of unknown function in a number of species of bacteria such as: Esp de Entero
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Source:Elhuyar Fundazioa


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