Navigation Links
Understanding why C. difficile causes disease -- it's hungry

Researchers studying the genetics behind why C. difficile causes disease have come to a simple conclusion -- the bacteria do it because they are starving. That just might help them find a new treatment for what can sometimes be a very difficult disease to treat.

"The genes responsible for toxin production only seem to be expressed during periods of nutrient deprivation. This is consistent with the view that most disease-causing bacteria express their pathogenicity when they are hungry," says Abraham Sonenshein, professor at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University and at Tufts University School of Medicine, at the 107th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) on May 24, 2007.

C. difficile bacteria are everywhere — in soil, air, water, human and animal feces, and on most surfaces in hospital wards. The bacteria don't cause problems until they grow in abnormally large numbers in the intestinal tract. This can happen when the benign bacteria that normally inhabit the intestinal tract are reduced such as when people take antibiotics or other antimicrobial drugs. Then, C. difficile can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammations of the colon.

In 2002 a new, more virulent strain began appearing in hospitals in the United States and Canada. Recently, this strain was shown to be responsible for more than half of all cases in a representative sampling in Quebec. The highly virulent strain has a much higher toxin production which leads to more destructive and deadly disease, says Vivian Loo of McGill University.

Sonenshein is studying a five-gene region of the bacterium’s chromosome known as the tcd locus. Two of the genes code for the toxins the bacterium produces that cause disease and a third gene codes for a protein that makes a hole in the organism’s cell envelope to let the toxins out. The last two genes are of greatest interest to Sonenshein a nd his colleague, Bruno Dupuy from the Institut Pasteur. One codes for a protein, known as R, that is necessary for the expression of the first three genes and the other codes for a protein called C that prevents R from acting.

A mutation in the C protein gene, leaving R unchecked, is the cause of the hypervirulent strain. Sonenshein and his colleagues are currently working to identify a protein that might shut down the gene that codes for R. By identifying such a protein, Sonenshein hope to find a way to change the appetite of the bacteria. "If we find a way to shut down toxin production in the hypervirulent strain, we might have a new way to treat the disease," says Sonenshein.
'"/>

Source:American Society for Microbiology


Related biology news :

1. The circadian clock: Understanding natures timepiece
2. Breakthrough System for Understanding Ocean Plant Life Announced
3. Understanding how bacteria communicate may help scientists prevent disease
4. Understanding biases in epidemic models important when making public health predictions
5. Understanding the oceans microbes is key to the Earths future
6. Understanding the actions of others requires the frontal cortex
7. Reminding doctors which antibiotics to prescribe cuts C. difficile infection rates
8. BRCA1 causes ovarian cancer through indirect, biochemical route
9. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
10. NASA study finds snow melt causes large ocean plant blooms
11. Alarm pheromone causes aphids to sprout wings

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ... over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ... appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards ... Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive ... their guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we ...
(Date:4/5/2017)...  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces ... portal and dynamic digital window into the human cell. ... application of deep learning to create predictive models of ... a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell ... publicly available resources created and shared by the Allen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, a global contract ... to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering its ... attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the finalization ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical Device ... on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings together ... as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world to ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... the implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization ... progesterone and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... Dr. Bob Harman, founder ... local San Diego Rotary Club. The event entitled “Stem Cells and ... had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined by two human doctors: ...
Breaking Biology Technology: