Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Salmonella Relies on Single Food Source to Stay Potent

Published: Saturday, July 12, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Bookmark and Share
Study suggests genes needed for nutrient could be attractive drug target to fight infection.

Scientists have identified a potential Achilles’ heel for Salmonella – the bacteria’s reliance on a single food source to remain fit in the inflamed intestine.

When these wily bugs can’t access this nutrient, they become 1,000 times less effective at sustaining disease than when they’re fully nourished.

The research suggests that blocking activation of one of five genes that transport the nutrient toSalmonella cells could be a new strategy to fight infection.

“For some reason, Salmonella really wants this nutrient, and if it can’t get this one, it’s in really bad shape,” said Brian Ahmer, associate professor of microbial infection and immunity at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study. “If you could block Salmonella from getting that nutrient, you’d really stopSalmonella.”

The research is published in the journal PLOS Pathogens.

Generally, most of the 42,000 Americans who report Salmonella infection annually ride out the gastroenteritis symptoms of diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps and vomiting for four to seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Antibiotics aren’t a recommended treatment for most infections because they kill good gut bacteria along with Salmonella.

The nutrient needed by Salmonella is composed of a sugar and amino acid stuck together, and is called fructose-asparagine. Its identification alone is also unusual: “It has never been discovered to be a nutrient for any organism,” Ahmer said.

Ahmer and colleagues found this important food source by first identifying the genes that Salmonellarequires to stay alive during the active phase of gastroenteritis, when the inflamed gut produces symptoms of infection.

Using a genetic screening technique, the researchers found a cluster of five genes that had to be expressed to keep Salmonella from losing its fitness during gastroenteritis. They then determined that those vital genes work together to transport a nutrient into the bacterial cell and chop up the nutrient so it can be used as food.

The study refers to the pathogen’s fitness because it’s an all-encompassing word for Salmonellasurvival, growth and ability to inflict damage.

Identifying the nutrient that the genes acted upon was a bit tricky and involved some guessing, Ahmer said. The team realized that the Salmonella genes they found resembled genes in other bacteria with a similar function – transporting the nutrient fructose-lysine into E. coli. But seeing a difference between the genes, the researchers landed, with some luck, on fructose-asparagine.

The researchers ran numerous experiments in cell cultures and mice to observe what happened to Salmonella in the inflamed gut when these genes were mutated. Under differing conditions,Salmonella’s fitness dropped between 100- and 10,000-fold if it could not access fructose-asparagine, even if all of its other food sources were available.

“That was one of the big surprises: that there is only one nutrient source that is so important toSalmonella. For most bacteria, if we get rid of one nutrient acquisition system, they continue to grow on other nutrients,” Ahmer said. “In the gut, Salmonella can obtain hundreds of different nutrients. But without fructose-asparagine, it’s really unfit.”

Because of that sole source for survival, the genes needed for acquisition of this nutrient could be effective drug targets.

“Nobody’s ever looked at nutrient transporters as drug targets because it’s assumed that there will be hundreds more transporters, so it’s a pointless pursuit,” Ahmer said.

This kind of drug also holds promise because it would affect only Salmonella and leave the trillions of other microbes in the gut unaffected.

Ahmer and colleagues are continuing this work to address remaining questions, including the window of time in which access to the nutrient is most important for Salmonella’s survival as well as identifying human foods that contain high concentrations of fructose-asparagine.

This work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,900+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Accelerating the Detection of Foodborne Bacterial Outbreaks
The speed of diagnosis of foodborne bacterial outbreaks could be improved by a new technique developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Sweet Tooth Science - Chocolate Antioxidants
Researchers develop a faster and cheaper method to test for antioxidants in chocolate.
Food Additives Promote Inflammation, Colon Cancer
Dietary emulsifiers promoted colon cancer in a mouse model by altering gut microbes and increasing gut inflammation.
Detecting Food Contaminants with a Smartphone
Researchers aim to develop a novel food safety monitoring method using a smartphone.
Alarming Glyphosate Levels Found in Foods
Glyphosate has been found at alarming levels in a wide range of best-selling foods across the U.S.
Are Sweeteners as Natural as We Think?
New research study supports stevia’s naturality by identifying nine required molecules present in the dried stevia leaf.
Pre-Cut Salad May Encourage Growth of Salmonella
Study suggests damage to produce in bagged salads encourage the presence of Salmonella.
Personalized Antibiotic Treatment
Researchers have developed a sensor platform that quantifies antibiotics in human blood within minutes.
Peer Review is in Crisis, But Should be Fixed, Not Abolished
After the time to get the science done, peer review has become the slowest step in the process of sharing studies, and some scientists have had enough.
Erucic Acid Poses Health Risk to Children
Erucic acid may be a long-term health risk for children, below the age of 10 years, who consume higher amounts of food rich in the substance.
SELECTBIO

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,900+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!