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Princeton scientists break cholera's lines of communication
Date:11/14/2007

ests.

The team found that when CAI-1 is absent, cholera bacteria act as pathogens. But when the bacteria detect enough of this chemical, they stop making biofilms and releasing toxins, perceiving that it is time to leave the body instead.

"Our findings demonstrate that if you supply CAI-1 to cholera, you can flip their switches to stop the attack," Higgins said.

Chemist Helen Blackwell of the University of Wisconsin-Madison praised the study, calling it a breakthrough for quorum sensing research, and possibly for medical science.

"Lots of other bugs like staph, strep and E. coli use the same general type of signaling mechanism as cholera," said Blackwell, an assistant professor of chemistry. "Many people are looking for ways to inhibit the signaling process, and you could imagine using this process to turn off cholera. It suggests a direct pathway into the clinic."

The field is still far from possessing a complete dictionary of the bacterial chemical lexicon, Bassler said, and this lexicon must be better understood before clinical applications can be developed. But the findings are encouraging.

"We have to show that CAI-1 can cure cholera in lab mice," she said. "We'd also like to understand the chemistry of how the molecule is made in the cell. Meanwhile, the best cure for cholera is to provide the world with clean water."


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Contact: Chad Boutin
cboutin@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
Source:Eurekalert

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