Opening new doors to combat bacterial infections

We may be several steps closer to understanding one of the major pathologies that affects sufferers of cystic fibrosis, thanks to Senior researcher Eduard Torrents of IBEC’s Microbial biotechnology and host-pathogen interaction group.

In a study published this week in the American Society for Microbiology’s journal Infection and Immunity, Eduard and his collaborator in Stockholm, Britt-Marie Sjöberg, looked at DNA synthesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterial infection that is a frequent complication in many people with cystic fibrosis, and a common cause of death in those patients.

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Focusing on ribonucleotide reductase enzymes, which are essential for cell division with a high fidelity duplication of DNA – a critical step in the life cycle all types of organisms – the researchers studied the expression of each of these type of enzymes during aerobic and anaerobic growth of P. aeruginosa and their role during infection.

Image: Green fluorescence protein expression under the nrdAB promoter region in Pseudomonas aeruginosa

“Ribonucleotide reductases control the only pathway to the deoxyribonucleotides which are required for DNA synthesis and repair,” explains Eduard. “By studying them, we were able to examine the shift in expression of each during the infection process and so determine which ones in particular could be considered a good target to inhibit the growth of P. aeruginosa in chronic cases.”

Source article: Sjöberg, B-M & Torrents, E. (2011). Shift in ribonucleotide reductase gene expression in Pseudomonas aeruginosa during infection. Infect Immun, in press