Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Link between bacteria metabolism and communication

Researchers have discovered a link between bacteria metabolism and cell-to-cell communication, potentially providing a target for new antivirulence and antibiofilm drugs.

Current drugs for bacterial infections aim to kill bacteria in large quantities, but such drugs are often eventually met with antibiotic resistance. Antivirulence and antibiofilm drugs, on the other hand, block toxic molecules produced by bacteria or prevent bacteria from forming thin, slimy films called biofilms (a common example is dental plaque). These mechanisms are controlled by quorum sensing: the process that allows bacteria populations to communicate and coordinate group behavior.

For example, biofilm forming E. coli can cause urinary tract infections. Thus, disrupting quorum sensing and biofilm forming in the bacteria could prevent those infections.

Quorum sensing is facilitated by signaling molecules called autoinducers. One particular autoinducer, AI-2, is modified by a protein called LsrK so that its signal can be perceived.

The findings, which were published in the journal Science Advances, shows that LsrK forms a complex with HPr, a protein involved in glucose utilization in E. coli.

 Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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