Research – From Jekyll to Hyde: New study pinpoints mutation that makes E. coli deadlier

Science Daily

As far as humans are concerned, bacteria can be classified as either harmful, pathogenic bacteria and harmless or beneficial non-pathogenic bacteria. To develop better treatments for diseases caused by pathogenic bacteria, we need to have a good grasp on the mechanisms that cause some bacteria to be virulent. Scientists have identified genes that cause virulence, or capability to cause disease, but they do not fully know how bacteria evolve to become pathogenic.

To find out, Professor Chikara Kaito and his team of scientists from Okayama University, Japan, used a process called experimental evolution to identify molecular mechanisms that cells develop to gain useful traits, and published their findings in PLoS Pathogens. “We’re excited by this research because no one has ever looked at virulence evolution of bacteria in an animal; studies before us looked at the evolution in cells,” said Prof Kaito.

The scientists decided to start with a non-pathogenic Escherichia coli (or E. coli for short) and repeatedly mutate it and use it to infect silkworms, an insect that is often used as a model for infectious diseases, and then test whether it will cause death in silkworms.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s