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:5/9/2016)... -- Elevay is currently known as the ... high net worth professionals seeking travel for work   ... there is still no substitute for a face-to-face meeting. ... deal with a firm handshake. This is why wealthy ... citizenship via investment programs like those offered by the ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... GOTHENBURG, Sweden , April 28, 2016 ... 1,491.2 M (139.9), up 966% compared with the first quarter of ... Operating profit totaled SEK 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating ... SEK 7.12 (loss: 0.32) Cash flow from operations was ... , The 2016 revenue guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... The new GEZE SecuLogic access ... "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It can ... door interface with integration authorization management system, and thus ... minimal dimensions of the access control and the optimum ... offer considerable freedom of design with regard to the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... MONICA, Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation ... pioneer increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the ... institutions across 15 countries. Read More About the Class ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... OTTAWA, ON (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... former DNA Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA ... joining the STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Andrew D ... http://doi.org/10.17925/OHR.2016.12.01.22 Published recently in ... from touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses ... care is placing an increasing burden on healthcare ... therapies. With the patents on many biologics expiring, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... new line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC ... in Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: