Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
PZ HTL SA
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC

Metabolic Incentives to Cooperate Controlled by Bacterial Quorum Sensing

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 24 Oct 2012
Scientists have found that bacterial quorum sensing controls when and which cells in a given population will release “public goods” into their environment, and does so in a way that is at least partly achieved by specific metabolic advantage “incentives” for the individual cells.

Quorum sensing (the form of intercellular bacterial communication that enables individual cells to recognize and react to the cell population density of their surrounding community) is a key regulator of the production and release of “public goods” - extracellular products that can be used by any community member. The quorum sensing system is also involved in controlling expression of a few “private goods” - intracellular products not available to other cells. In this study published in the October 12, 2012, issue of the journal Science, the opportunistic lung pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa was studied under various metabolic conditions that changed the metabolic cost/benefit balance of producing “public goods” and thereby the competitive balance between “cooperator” cells and “cheater” cells; “cheater” cells being quorum sensing mutants that no longer produce “public goods” in response to increasing population density.

The scientists, from the University of Washington School of Medicine (Seattle, WA), found that quorum sensing–controlled expression of certain intracellular “private goods” can put a metabolic constraint on “cheater” cells and prevent a population collapse. When the researchers manipulated the environment so that the cost of cell cooperation was high and so induced destabilization of cooperation, the “cheater” cells were found to overtake the cooperating producer cells until the population collapsed. The scientists were also able to manipulate environmental conditions to restrict the “cheater” population growth and stabilize quorum sensing (population density) dependent cooperation, thereby providing the “public goods” required to maintain the population and prevent collapse of the community.

Metabolic constraint of social “cheating” provides an explanation for “private goods” regulation by a cooperative system and has general implications for population biology, infection control, and stabilization of quorum-sensing circuits in synthetic biology. The findings also provide additional indication of the potential for developing antibiotic-independent approaches to manage infections. In the future, conditions may be manipulated in order to cause cell populations of dangerous pathogens to collapse - "Perhaps, one day, we'll be able to manipulate infections so that bacterial cooperation is destabilized and infections are resolved," said Dr. Peter Greenberg, UW professor of microbiology and principal author of the study. "We've also gained new insights into how cell cooperation can be stably maintained in biology. It is much more straightforward to study sociality in bacteria than in animals. The payoffs may be in understanding what drives cooperation and conflict in general, and in developing strategies for infection control,” added Prof. Greenberg.

Related Links:

University of Washington School of Medicine



comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel

New Program Encourages Wide Distribution of Genomic Data

A new data sharing program allows genomics researchers and practitioners to analyze, visualize, and share raw sequence data for individual patients or across populations straight from a local browser. The sequencing revolution is providing the raw data required to identify the genetic variants underlying rare diseases... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: The nano-cocoon drug delivery system is biocompatible, specifically targets cancer cells, can carry a large drug load, and releases the drugs very quickly once inside the cancer cell. Ligands on the surface of the \"cocoon\" trick cancer cells into consuming it. Enzymes (the “worms\" in this image) inside the cocoon are unleashed once inside the cell, destroying the cocoon and releasing anticancer drugs into the cell (Photo courtesy of Dr. Zhen Gu, North Carolina State University).

Novel Anticancer Drug Delivery System Utilizes DNA-Based Nanocapsules

A novel DNA-based drug delivery system minimizes damage to normal tissues by utilizing the acidic microenvironment inside cancer cells to trigger the directed release of the anticancer drug doxorubicin (DOX).... Read more

Lab Technologies

view channel

Experimental Physicists Find Clues into How Radiotherapy Kills Cancer Cells

A new discovery in experimental physics has implications for a better determination of the process in which radiotherapy destroys cancer cells. Dr. Jason Greenwood from Queen’s University Belfast (Ireland) Center for Plasma Physics collaborated with scientists from Italy and Spain on the work on electrons, and published... Read more

Business

view channel

Interest in Commercial Applications for Proteomics Continues to Grow

Increasing interest in the field of proteomics has led to a series of agreements between private proteomic companies and academic institutions as well as deals between pharmaceutical companies and novel proteomics innovator biotech companies. Proteomics is the study of the structure and function of proteins.... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.