Infection by Burkholderia cenocepacia in immunocompromised individuals and people with cystic fibrosis has been correlated with poor patient prognosis. The increasing occurrence of B. cenocepacia in such individuals suggests that the effectiveness of antibiotics used to combat this human pathogen is on the decline. Gudrun Koch and colleagues from the university of Groningen, Groningen Research Institute of Pharmacy, investigated the action of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa enzyme, PvdQ, as a possible alternative to antibiotics because of the enzyme’s ability to disrupt quorum sensing – a bacterial culture’s mechanism for coordinating infection.
The authors introduced two point mutations into PvdQ that altered the structure of the enzyme’s active site, changing its target substrate to C8-HSL, the primary quorum sensing inducer in Burkholderia species. The altered PvdQ enzyme reduced the concentration of C8-HSL in B. cenocepacia cultures 48.5-fold when added exogenously and also rescued a population of Galleria mellonella when the larvae were infected with B. cenocepacia that produced the mutant PvdQ. The authors demonstrate that an enzyme produced by bacteria that disrupts quorum sensing can be altered to target the quorum-sensing substrate of a different bacterial species, suggesting that the technique can be used as a potential antimicrobial approach that might lower the likelihood of antibiotic resistance. The engineered enzymes can also target specific bacterial species, according to the authors, thereby potentially reducing disruption of normal host microbiota.
For the full publication:
Reducing virulence of the human pathogen Burkholderia by altering the substrate specificity of the quorum-quenching acylase PvdQ.
By Gudrun Koch, Pol Nadal-Jimenez, Carlos R. Reis, Remco Muntendam, Marcel Bokhove, Elena Melillo, Bauke W. Dijkstra, Robbert H. Cool, and Wim J. Quax
Last week, Ben Feringa and Anouk Lubbe presented the first copy of their book Alledaagse Moleculen (Everyday Molecules) to minister Robbert Dijkgraaf. The richly illustrated book offers an accessible overview of 180 substances in our daily lives....
Dr Annette Scheepstra of the UG Arctic Centre, part of the Faculty of Arts, is about to conduct research into tourism in Antarctica and how tourists can become Antarctic ambassadors. She has been granted €1 million in funding by the Dutch Research...
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has appointed Professor Maria Loi and Professor Dirk Slotboom from the Faculty of Science and Engineering as members of the Academy.
The UG website uses functional and anonymous analytics cookies. Please answer the question of whether or not you want to accept other cookies (such as tracking cookies).
If no choice is made, only basic cookies will be stored. More information