Sunday, 18 January 2015

Researchers control adhesion of E. coli bacteria

Scientists have created a synthetic surface on which the adhesion of E. coli bacteria can be controlled. The layer, which is only approximately four nanometers thick, imitates the saccharide coating (glycocalyx) of cells onto which the bacteria adhere such as during an infection. This docking process can be switched on and off using light. This means that the scientists have now made an important step towards understanding the relationship between sugar (carbohydrates) and bacterial infections.

The bonding properties of the saccharide coating can now be switched using this method: if the researchers irradiate their system with light with a wavelength of 365 nanometres, considerably fewer pathogenic bacteria cells can adhere to the synthetic surface. The saccharide molecules turn away from the bacteria, in a sense, and can no longer be recognised. When switched on by 450 nanometre wavelength light waves, on the other hand, the structures reorientate such that the bacteria cells can dock on once again. In this way, E. coli adhesion can be controlled.

For details see:

Theresa Weber, Vijayanand Chandrasekaran, Insa Stamer, Mikkel B. Thygesen, Andreas Terfort, Thisbe K. Lindhorst. Switching of Bacterial Adhesion to a Glycosylated Surface by Reversible Reorientation of the Carbohydrate Ligand. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2014; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201409808

Posted by Tim Sandle