Tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology

October 17, 2002

POTENTIAL TREATMENT FOR PATIENTS WITH HEPATITIS B

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California report that the compound Interleukin-18 (IL-18) may control replication of the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and be an effective therapy for patients already being treated for chronic hepatitis. Their results appear in the November 2002 issue of the Journal of Virology.

In the study, HBV-infected mice were treated with IL-18 and then monitored for varying levels of HBV DNA in the liver. HBV DNA levels significantly decreased after four hours and were almost undetectable after twenty-four hours.

"In conclusion, our observation that IL-18 can inhibit HBV replication in the livers of these transgenic mice, especially in concert with IL-12, raises the possibility that both of these cytokines may contribute to the control of HBV replication during natural HBV infection," say researchers. "Thus we suggest that IL-18, alone or together with IL-12, might have therapeutic potential for the treatment of patients with chronic HBV infection."

(K. Kimura, K. Kakimi, S. Weiland, L.G. Guidotti, F.V. Chisari. 2002. Interleukin-18 inhibits Hepatitis B Virus replication in the livers of transgenic mice. Journal of Virology, 76: 10702-10707.)

ENGINEERED BACTERIA DETECT POLLUTANTS

Researchers from the United Kingdom have genetically engineered a bacterium to detect herbicidal pollution in the environment. They report their findings in the October 2002 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

The use of engineered bacteria, also known as biosensors, to detect pollutants in the environment is nothing new, say the researchers from the University of Abedeen and the University of Cambridge. "However, existing biosensors show a poor response to herbicides, a key class of environmental pollutants."

In the study, the researchers genetically engineered the cyanobacterium Synechoscystis , adding a gene from a firefly to make it glow in the presence of a broad range of herbicides and other pollutants including heavy metals. According to the researchers, this new biosensor is simpler, more rapid, more accurate and more economical than other methods.

"This biosensor is expected to provide new opportunities for the rapid screening of environmental samples or for the investigation of potential environmental damage," say the researchers.

(C.Y. Shao, C.J. Howe, A.J.R. Porter and L.A. Glover. 2002 . Novel cyanobacterial biosensor for detection of herbicides. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 68: 5026-5033.)

ANTIBODIES TO TREAT SEVERE E. COLI INFECTIONS

A strategy utilizing human antibodies against a bacterial toxin may be an effective therapy for some of the most severe E. coli infections, say researchers from Tufts University in the October 2002 issue of the journal Infection and Immunity.

Hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a leading cause of kidney failure in children, is associated with infection by E. coli O157:H7 bacteria that produce a compound known as Shiga toxin. HUS usually develops several days after the onset of bloody diarrhea associated with food- or water-borne infection with the bacteria. There is currently no effective treatment available.

In their study the researchers have developed human antibodies that recognize and neutralize the Shiga toxin. These antibodies not only neutralized over 85% of the Shiga toxin in cell cultures, but also significantly increased survival when administered to experimentally infected mice.

"Presently, no effective treatment or prophylaxis for HUS is available clinically," say the researchers "However, passive antibody therapy holds promise."

(J. Mukherjee, K. Chios, D. Fishwild, D. Hudson, S. O'Donnell, S.M. Rich, A. Donohue-Rolfe and S. Tzipori. 2002. Production and characterization of protective human antibodies against Shiga-toxin 1. Infection and Immunity, 70: 5896-5899.)
-end-


American Society for Microbiology

Related Bacteria Articles from Brightsurf:

Siblings can also differ from one another in bacteria
A research team from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is investigating how pathogens influence the immune response of their host with genetic variation.

How bacteria fertilize soya
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth.

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.

Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.

Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.

Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.

Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.

How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.

The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?

Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.

Read More: Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.