This press release is available in Spanish.
In their natural environment bacteria develop by forming communities of micro-organisms called biofilms that afford them greater resistance. These biofilms on farms and premises where food is processed lead to considerable economic losses besides being a potential source of contamination and transmission of the pathogen. In her PhD thesis,Violeta Zorraquino-Salvo has studied a specific protein type that activates the formation of biofilm in Salmonella and regulates bacterial motility. "Having a better idea of the mechanisms involved in these processes will help to design new, more effective strategies for preventing the formation of biofilm and its potential harm in the clinical, food and industrial ambit," points out the researcher.
Two decades ago it was discovered that a small molecule (the so-called c-di-GMP) could on its own hamper motility and activate the formation of biofilm. "This molecule is part of a signal transduction system: there are different sensory membranes on the membrane of the bacteria that pick up stimuli from the outside and transduce them into different intracellular levels of c-di-GMP, thus regulating different biological processes like biofilm formation. "In the first part of her thesis Zorraquino removed all the sensory proteins from the Salmonella's genome."We created a mutant Salmonella incapable of picking up stimuli from the medium in which it lives and therefore of producing biofilm under any circumstances. "After that, each sensory protein was inserted one by one to be able to analyse, under different ambient conditions, how each one contributed to the formation of biofilm. "We showed that under each condition tested, only some proteins are active, so each one is most likely responsible for the formation of biofilm whena given condition is present."<
|Contact: Oihane Lakar Iraizoz|