Molecule that sparks the formation of bacterial community unveiledDecember 23rd, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Dec 23 (ANI): Scientists have found that a single molecule, known as surfactin, triggers isolated bacteria to suddenly aggregate into intricately structured communities called biofilms.
The mechanisms that cause isolated bacteria to suddenly aggregate into a social network was not known as yet, but new insights from the lab of Harvard Medical School microbial geneticist Roberto Kolter reveal previously unknown communication pathways that cause such social phenomenon.
For their study, the researchers used the non-pathogenic Bacillus subtilis as a model organism.
The study, led by Kolter and postdoctoral researcher Daniel Lopez, found a group of natural, soil-based products that trigger communal behaviour in bacteria.
They revealed that biofilm formation begins when surfactin, produced by B. subtilis, along with other similar molecules cause bacteria to leak potassium.
As potassium levels decline, a membrane protein on the bacterium stimulates a cascade of gene activity that signals neighbouring cells to form a quorum. As a result, biofilms form.
The researchers pointed out that it’’s still unclear how biofilm formation benefits the bacteria, and hypothesized that it might be an antibacterial defence against competing species.
Still, the notion that a single small molecule can induce multicellularity intrigues the researchers.
“Typically, scientists try to discover new antibiotics through some rather blunt means, like simply looking to see if one bacterium can kill another,” said Kolter.
He added: “This discovery of a single molecule causing such a dramatic response in bacteria hints at a new and potentially effective way to possibly discover antibiotics.” (ANI)
- Soil based micro-organism triggers bacterial networking - Dec 26, 2008
- 'Seaweed bacteria more effective than toothpaste' - Jul 05, 2012
- Bacteria fighting fungal infections - May 02, 2010
- New strain of killer E. coli decoded - Jul 27, 2012
- How bacteria resist attack - Nov 02, 2009
- Bacteria too can sniff out smelly chemicals - Aug 16, 2010
- Nutrition-starved bugs become resistant to antibiotics - Nov 18, 2011
- Garlic beats antibiotics in quelling food-borne illness - May 04, 2012
- Dental bugs may trigger fatal heart condition - Mar 26, 2012
- Chemical compound effective in destroying antibiotic-resistant biofilms - Apr 09, 2010
- Disarming bugs can combat antibiotic resistance - Apr 05, 2012
- Not brushing teeth can cause heart attacks - Sep 06, 2010
- Gallstones play key role in perpetuating typhoid - Feb 23, 2010
- New discovery may help treat chronic infections - Dec 20, 2009
- How bacteria communicate with each other - Mar 03, 2011
Tags: bacillus subtilis, bacterium, communication pathways, daniel lopez, dramatic response, gene activity, harvard medical school, intrigues, membrane protein, microbial geneticist, model organism, molecule, natural soil, new antibiotics, new insights, postdoctoral researcher, potassium levels, roberto kolter, social phenomenon, surfactin