Navigation Links
Bacteria 'See' the Light
Date:8/23/2007

Finding might lead to new ways to detect or destroy bacteria, experts say,,

THURSDAY, Aug. 23 (HealthDay News) -- At least one type of bacteria may be able to sense light and then strengthen itself to survive, researchers report.

The bacteria Brucella abortus causes serious illness in animals and flu-like fevers in humans, and it appears to rely on its ability to sense light to maximize its virulence once it's out of a host.

"It wasn't expected that Brucella had any response to light. Why would it need light?" said study co-author Roberto Bogomolni, chairman of biochemistry at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "But we found that it does, in fact, activate with light, and it increases the virulence when activated by light."

The finding is published in the Aug. 24 issue of Science.

"Bacteria adapt their behavior to the environment. In that way, light is an important environmental signal that tells the bacterium where they are. They use this information in deciding how to behave," explained the co-author of an accompanying editorial, John Kennis, from the Faculty of Sciences at Vrije Universiteit, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

"When Brucella has infected an animal or human, it's inside the body where it is dark. However, when the bacterium is ejected from the host, it finds itself in the outside world where there is light. It then must infect the next victim, so the signal 'I see light' means 'I have to become infectious again,' and so Brucella has evolved a mechanism by which detection of light turns on its virulence response," Kennis explained.

Kennis said this light-sensing ability is akin to a "very primitive eye."

Bogomolni said the researchers first thought to look for light-sensing ability in Brucella because the bacterium's genome contained proteins similar to those that direct the movement of plants to light. These proteins have been dubbed the "LOV" domain, because they can detect light, oxygen and/or voltage. In the case of Brucella, light activates an enzyme called histidine kinase that causes Brucella to replicate rapidly.

Brucella isn't the only bacteria to contain LOV-domain proteins. According to the researchers, more than 100 different bacteria contain these proteins. However, their function in other bacteria is currently unknown.

For example, said Kennis, "E. coli also has a light-sensing protein. We don't know its function yet, but it may tell E. coli whether it's in our gut or outside, in the light."

Bogomolni said that because histidine kinases are only found in bacteria -- not in humans or animals -- turning these enzymes off is a "very tempting drug design target." Theoretically, such a drug would destroy bacteria but leave humans or animals unharmed.

"If we could do something to prevent the expression of the histidine kinase, we might impede the transition to virulence," said Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology at New York University Medical Center.

"We may be running out of the ability to use antibiotics, so these other avenues take on a very important position in the fight against disease," Tierno added.

More information

To learn more about Brucella bacteria, go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Roberto Bogomolni, Ph.D., professor and chairman, biochemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz; John Kennis, Ph.D., Faculty of Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Philip Tierno, Ph.D., director, clinical microbiology and immunology, New York University Medical Center, and author, The Secret Life of Germs: What They Are, Why We Need Them, And How We Can Protect Ourselves Against Them, New York City; Aug. 24, 2007, Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Kidney Stones - Interesting New Research implicates bacteria as its cause
2. Just spice it up!!!!! Anti bacterial effects of spices unraveled in the West
3. Dangerous food bacteria
4. Tongue piercing leads to bacterial infection
5. Honey curbs bacteria in the oral cavity
6. Identifying bacteria made amiable
7. Bacterial discovery may help CF patients
8. Cure for Bacterial Meningitis
9. The Effectiveness Of Antibacterial Products In Reducing Infection
10. Before Weight Loss Surgery One Should Get Tested for Bacteria
11. Light can help fight gum bacteria
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/20/2017)... Hagerstown, MD (PRWEB) , ... January 20, 2017 , ... ... people to donate items they no longer use or need, from clothes to couches ... up any unwanted items and take them to the nearest Goodwill donation center through ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... January 20, 2017 , ... Lice Troopers, the lice removal company based ... school-aged children since the holiday season. , “It happens every year around this ... hugs and taking photos, which is the head-to-head gateway that lice need to spread.” ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... Vitamin Well has launched two new ... have been produced in collaboration with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and have been developed to ... a successful launch in Sweden last year, the next generation sports drinks VW+001 ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 20, 2017 , ... ... vPEP ® Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure (OPEP) device, was featured in a study ... Doug Pursley, MEd, RRT-ACCS, FAARC, “Analysis of Three Oscillating Positive Expiratory Pressure ...
(Date:1/20/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 20, 2017 , ... “God's Miracle ... Against All Odds” is the creation of published author, Keith C. A. Tucker, son ... the Christian Fellowship World Outreach pastured by Reverend Mark Hardy , “While sitting up ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017 Report Details ... ... for Leading Companies – our new study reveals trends, ... issues and events affecting the Alzheimer,s disease therapeutics and ... answer these key questions: - How is the Alzheimer,s ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... -- Stealth BioTherapeutics Inc. ( Stealth ), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical ... new additions to its senior leadership team: W. ... Daniel Geffken as interim Chief Financial Officer. ... Pharm.D. has been promoted to Chief Clinical Development Officer. ... and Daniel to our management team, as both will ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... , Jan. 19, 2017 Accuray Incorporated ... CyberKnife® and TomoTherapy® Systems continue to set the bar ... the highest composite overall user satisfaction rating among radiation ... Q4 2016 MD Buyline Market Intelligence Briefing™. The most ... highest composite ratings among industry peers for 11 of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: