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:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... The Compretta Insurance Agency, a family owned ... and around the Hancock County area, is announcing the launch of a charity effort ... The Hancock County Food Pantry has worked for more than 30 years to meet ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... of the most comprehensive mental health systems reform legislation in more than fifty ... President, and the commitment of our elected officials to improving mental health services ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... women growing up with a schizophrenic mother in a unique, personal perspective through ... specializes in treating trauma and addictive disorders at her private psychotherapy practice. Sheri’s ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Hamden, CT (PRWEB) , ... December 07, 2016 , ... ... has prompted an outpouring of comments on social media that offer a rare glimpse ... adult psychiatrist, leading ADHD authority and New York Times bestselling author, has described people ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... December 07, 2016 , ... The Cliff Hart Agencies, ... South Lyon, Dewitt, Williamston, East Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Farmington Hills, is announcing ... a brain tumor. , Jason Bauer and his family are longtime members of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016 Global Cervical Dysplasia Market: ... global cervical dysplasia market analyzes the current and ... an elaborate executive summary, including a market snapshot ... sub-segments. The research is a combination of ... bulk of our research efforts along with information ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , Dec 7, 2016 Research and ... Application and End User - Global Forecast to 2021" report to ... , , ... USD 2.12 Billion by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 7.3% during ... as the growing prevalence of cancer and rapidly increasing geriatric population across ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 7, 2016  Palatin Technologies, Inc. ("Palatin") (NYSE ... a previously disclosed underwritten public offering of units ... as sole book-running manager, Roth Capital Partners acted ... as co-manager for the offering. "This ... net proceeds, allowing us to continue advancing bremelanotide ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: