Navigation Links
Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
Date:3/1/2012

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) What if bacteria could talk to each other? What if they had a sense of touch? A new study by researchers at UC Santa Barbara suggests both, and theorizes that such cells may, in fact, need to communicate in order to perform certain functions. The findings appear today in the journal Genes & Development.

Christopher Hayes, UCSB associate professor of molecular, cellular, and development biology, teamed with graduate students Elie Diner, Christina Beck, and Julia Webb to study uropathogenic E. coli (UPEC), which causes urinary tract infections in humans. They discovered a sibling-like link between cell systems that have largely been thought of as rivals.

The paper shows that bacteria expressing a contactdependent growth inhibition system (CDI) can inhibit bacteria without such a system only if the target bacteria have CysK, a metabolic enzyme required for synthesis of the amino acid cysteine. CysK is shown to bind to the CDI toxin an enzyme that breaks RNA and activate it.

For a cell system typically thought of as existing only to kill other bacteria as CDIs have largely been the results are surprising, said Hayes, because they suggest that a CDI+ inhibitor cell has to get permission from its target in order to do the job.

"This is basically the inhibitor cell asking the target cell, 'Can I please inhibit you?'" he explained. "It makes no sense. Why add an extra layer of complexity? Why add a permissive factor? That's an unusual finding.

"We think now that the [CDI] system is not made solely because these cells want to go out and kill other cells," Hayes continued. "Our results suggest the possibility that these cells may use CDI to communicate as siblings and team up to work together; for example, in formation of a biofilm, which lends bacteria greater strength and better odds of survival."

The study points to the enzyme CysK as the potential catalyst to such bacterial communication like a secret handshake, or a password. In simpler terms, said Hayes, "If you have the right credentials, you're allowed into the club; otherwise you're turned away. There's a velvet rope, if you will, and if you're not one of the cool kids, you can't get in."

Although only UPEC was studied for this paper, Hayes said that the findings hold potential implications for pathogens from bacterial meningitis to the plague, as well as for plant-based bacteria that can devastate vegetation.

David Low, a UCSB professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and secondary author on the paper, described the work by Hayes's laboratory as potentially groundbreaking for its insights into how bacteria communicate and the practical applications that could someday result.

"We are just starting to get some clues that bacteria may be talking to each other with a contact-dependent language," said Low. "They touch and respond to one another in different ways depending on the CDI systems and other genotypic factors. Our hope is that ultimately this work may aid the development of drugs that block or enhance touch-dependent communication, whether the bacteria is harmful or helpful."


'/>"/>

Contact: Shelly Leachman
shelly.leachman@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-8726
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Long-term study shows effect of climate change on animal diversity
2. £2 million study to reveal workings of dementia genes
3. New study looks to define evangelicals and how they affect polling
4. CU-Boulder study suggests air quality regulations miss key pollutants
5. Researchers study acoustic communication in deep-sea fish
6. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
7. Researchers study how pistachios may improve heart health
8. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
9. New study indicates link between weight gains during pregnancy and dieting history
10. Study reveals specific gene in adolescent men with delinquent peers
11. Sweat it out: UH study examines ability of sweat patches to monitor bone loss
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Study by UC Santa Barbara researchers suggests that bacteria communicate by touch
(Date:2/7/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017   MedNet Solutions , ... entire spectrum of clinical research, is pleased to announce ... , its innovative, highly flexible and award winning eClinical ... customers. iMedNet is a proven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) ... Data Capture (EDC), but also delivers an entire suite ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... According to Acuity Market Intelligence, ongoing ... to continue to embrace biometric and digital identification ... Border Control (ABC) eGates and 1436 Automated Passport ... 163 ports of entry across the globe. Deployments ... combined CAGR of 37%. APC Kiosks reached 75% ...
(Date:2/2/2017)...   TapImmune, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... the development of innovative peptide and gene-based immunotherapeutics ... metastatic disease, announced today it has successfully completed ... second clinical lot of TPIV 200, the company,s ... manufactured vaccine product will be used to supply ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... LONDON and NEW YORK ... at HIMSS, Lumeon , a leading digital ... (DN Telehealth), a provider of telemedicine and remote ... care pathways for telemedicine reimbursements.  ... and their patients, in real-time, extending consultations beyond ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... JOSE, Calif. , Feb. 23, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... exclusive license for two key immunotherapy technologies from ... first technology provides a method to monitor a ... such as PD-L1 and CTLA-4.  The second license ... if a patient is likely to have an ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... Brain Sentinel, Inc. has ... the SPEAC® System, the Brain Sentinel® Seizure Monitoring and Alerting System. The adjunctive ... during periods of rest. A lightweight, non-invasive monitor is placed on the belly ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... The Greater Gift ... new partnership with Compass Research . GGI's mission is to advance global health ... a child in need in honor of each clinical trial volunteer. The vision of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: