Study could provide new strategies to prevent hospital-acquired infections

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

A bacterial pathogen can communicate with yeast to block the development of drug-resistant yeast infections, say Irish scientists writing in the May issue of Microbiology. The research could be a step towards new strategies to prevent hospital-acquired infections associated with medical implants.

Researchers from University College Cork in Ireland studied the interaction between the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is often associated with severe burns, and the yeast Candida albicans, which can grow on plastic surfaces such as catheters. Both microbes are very common and although they are normally harmless to healthy individuals, they can cause disease in immunocompromised people.

The team discovered that molecules produced by P. aeruginosa bacteria were able to hinder the development of C. albicans 'biofilms' on silicone, when the yeast cells clump together on the surface of the plastic. Interestingly, the interaction between the two organisms did not depend on the well-studied bacterial communication system called Quorum Sensing, indicating that a novel signalling mechanism was at play.

C. albicans is the most common hospital-acquired fungal infection and can cause illness by sticking to and colonising plastic surfaces implanted in the body such as catheters, cardiac devices or prosthetic joints. This biofilm formation is a key aspect of C. albicans infection and is problematic as biofilms are often resistant to the antibiotics used to treat them. Dr John Morrissey, who led the team of researchers, said, "Candida albicans can cause very serious deep infections in susceptible patients and it is often found in biofilm form. It is therefore important to understand the biofilm process and how it might be controlled."

Dr Morrissey believes his work may lead to significant clinical benefits. "If we can exploit the same inhibitory strategy that the bacterium P. aeruginosa uses, then we might be able to design drugs that can be used as antimicrobials to disperse yeast biofilms after they form, or as additives onto plastics to prevent biofilm formation on medical implants," he said. "The next steps are to identify the chemical that the bacterium produces and to find out what its target in the yeast is. We can then see whether this will be a feasible lead for the development of new drugs for clinical application."

Comments

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment
Post

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
AI-enabled ECG system significantly reduces hospital mortality rates by identifying at-risk patients