Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Engineered bacteria can make the ultimate sacrifice

21.11.2012
Scientists have engineered bacteria that are capable of sacrificing themselves for the good of the bacterial population. These altruistically inclined bacteria, which are described online in the journal Molecular Systems Biology, can be used to demonstrate the conditions where programmed cell death becomes a distinct advantage for the survival of the bacterial population.

"We have used a synthetic biology approach to explicitly measure and test the adaptive advantage of programmed bacterial cell death in Escherichia coli," said Lingchong You, senior author of the study and an associate professor at the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, and the Duke Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy.

"The system is tunable which means that the extent of altruistic death in the bacterial population can be increased. We are therefore able to control the extent of programmed cell death as well as test the benefits of altruistic death under different conditions." The lead author of the study is Yu Tanouchi, a graduate student in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Anand Pai and Nicolas Buchler also contributed to the work.

Scientists have known for some time that programmed cell death can be linked to the response of bacteria to stressful conditions, for example starvation of amino acids or the presence of competitor molecules. However, it is not clear why cells should choose to die under such conditions since it gives them no immediate advantages. Some researchers have suggested that programmed cell death allows cells to provide benefits to their survivors but until now it has been difficult to test this directly in experiments.

The researchers used synthetic biology procedures to engineer Escherichia coli in such a way that the bacterial cells are capable of suicidal behavior and promoting the good of the bacterial population. To do so they introduced a gene circuit, which consists of two modules, into the bacteria. If the "suicide module" is active it leads to the rupture and death of some bacterial cells when they are challenged with the antibiotic 6-aminopenicillanic acid. If the "public good" module is expressed, a modified form of the enzyme beta-lactamase is produced, which protects surviving cells from rupture or lysis by breaking down the antibiotic. This protection only occurs when the enzyme is released from inside the bacterial cells that make the ultimate sacrifice and die after rupture.

"Our results clearly demonstrate that it is possible to have conditions where the death of some bacteria confers an advantage for the overall population of bacteria," remarked You. "The optimal death rate for the bacterial population emerges after sufficient time has passed and is clearly visible in our system."

The scientists were also able to provide a possible explanation for the "Eagle effect", an unexpected phenomenon where bacteria appear to grow better when treated with higher antibiotic concentrations. "Overall our results fill in a conceptual gap in understanding the evolutionary dynamics of programmed bacterial death during stress and have implications for designing intervention strategies for effective treatment of bacterial infections with antibiotics," concluded You.

Programming stress-induced altruistic death in engineered bacteria
Yu Tanouchi, Anand Pai, Nicolas E Buchler, Lingchong You
Read the paper:
http://www.nature.com/msb
doi: 10.1038/msb.2012.50
Further information on Molecular Systems Biology is available at http://www.nature.com/msb

Media Contacts

Barry Whyte
Head | Public Relations and Communications
Yvonne Kaul
Communications Offer
Tel: +49 6221 8891 108/111
communications@embo.org
About EMBO
EMBO stands for excellence in the life sciences. The organization enables the best science by supporting talented researchers, stimulating scientific exchange and advancing policies for a world-class European research environment.

EMBO is an organization of 1500 leading life scientist members that fosters new generations of researchers to produce world-class scientific results. EMBO helps young scientists to advance their research, promote their international reputations and ensure their mobility. Courses, workshops, conferences and scientific journals disseminate the latest research and offer training in cutting-edge techniques to maintain high standards of excellence in research practice. EMBO helps to shape science and research policy by seeking input and feedback from our community and by following closely the trends in science in Europe.

Barry Whyte | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.embo.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht More genes are active in high-performance maize
19.01.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht How plants see light
19.01.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Maschinelles Lernen im Quantenlabor

Auf dem Weg zum intelligenten Labor präsentieren Physiker der Universitäten Innsbruck und Wien ein lernfähiges Programm, das eigenständig Quantenexperimente entwirft. In ersten Versuchen hat das System selbständig experimentelle Techniken (wieder)entdeckt, die heute in modernen quantenoptischen Labors Standard sind. Dies zeigt, dass Maschinen in Zukunft auch eine kreativ unterstützende Rolle in der Forschung einnehmen könnten.

In unseren Taschen stecken Smartphones, auf den Straßen fahren intelligente Autos, Experimente im Forschungslabor aber werden immer noch ausschließlich von...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Fliegen wird smarter – Kommunikationssystem LYRA im Lufthansa FlyingLab

• Prototypen-Test im Lufthansa FlyingLab
• LYRA Connect ist eine von drei ausgewählten Innovationen
• Bessere Kommunikation zwischen Kabinencrew und Passagieren

Die Zukunft des Fliegens beginnt jetzt: Mehrere Monate haben die Finalisten des Mode- und Technologiewettbewerbs „Telekom Fashion Fusion & Lufthansa FlyingLab“...

Im Focus: Ein Atom dünn: Physiker messen erstmals mechanische Eigenschaften zweidimensionaler Materialien

Die dünnsten heute herstellbaren Materialien haben eine Dicke von einem Atom. Sie zeigen völlig neue Eigenschaften und sind zweidimensional – bisher bekannte Materialien sind dreidimensional aufgebaut. Um sie herstellen und handhaben zu können, liegen sie bislang als Film auf dreidimensionalen Materialien auf. Erstmals ist es Physikern der Universität des Saarlandes um Uwe Hartmann jetzt mit Forschern vom Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gelungen, die mechanischen Eigenschaften von freitragenden Membranen atomar dünner Materialien zu charakterisieren. Die Messungen erfolgten mit dem Rastertunnelmikroskop an Graphen. Ihre Ergebnisse veröffentlichen die Forscher im Fachmagazin Nanoscale.

Zweidimensionale Materialien sind erst seit wenigen Jahren bekannt. Die Wissenschaftler André Geim und Konstantin Novoselov erhielten im Jahr 2010 den...

Im Focus: Forscher entschlüsseln zentrales Reaktionsprinzip von Metalloenzymen

Sogenannte vorverspannte Zustände beschleunigen auch photochemische Reaktionen

Was ermöglicht den schnellen Transfer von Elektronen, beispielsweise in der Photosynthese? Ein interdisziplinäres Forscherteam hat die Funktionsweise wichtiger...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Kongress Meditation und Wissenschaft

19.01.2018 | Veranstaltungen

LED Produktentwicklung – Leuchten mit aktuellem Wissen

18.01.2018 | Veranstaltungen

6. Technologie- und Anwendungsdialog am 18. Januar 2018 an der TH Wildau: „Intelligente Logistik“

18.01.2018 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Rittal vereinbart mit dem Betriebsrat von RWG Sozialplan - Zukunftsorientierter Dialog führt zur Einigkeit

19.01.2018 | Unternehmensmeldung

Open Science auf offener See

19.01.2018 | Geowissenschaften

Original bleibt Original - Neues Produktschutzverfahren für KFZ-Kennzeichenschilder

19.01.2018 | Informationstechnologie