August 3, 2011
1 Species Of Pathogen Can Produce 2 Distinct Biofilms
Many medical devices, ranging from artificial hip joints to dentures and catheters, can come with unwelcome guests "“ complex communities of microbial pathogens called biofilms that are resistant to the human immune system and antibiotics, thus proving a serious threat to human health. However, researchers may have a new way of looking at biofilms, thanks to a study conducted by University of Iowa biologist David Soll and his colleagues published in the Aug 2 issue of the online, open access journal PLoS Biology.
Previously, researchers believed that each pathogen formed one kind of biofilm, but Soll and his colleagues have discovered that the pernicious fungal pathogen Candida albicans makes two kinds of biofilms; a traditional pathogenic one, and a second sexual one. This discovery provides new and profound insights into developing new therapies that target pathogenic biofilms for disruption.
"Having two outwardly similar, but functionally different, biofilms provides us with one means of finding out what makes the pathogenic biofilm resistant to all challenges, and the sexual biofilm non-resistant," Soll said. "Whatever that difference is will represent a major target for future drug discovery."
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