e-Science : Oct 2016 Issue 18
A scanning electron micrograph of S. aureus at 35,000x magnification. The non-SCV and normal state is on the left and the SCV state is on the right; the SCV variant is covered in an extracellular coating. In contrast to previous work, we then uniquely grewS. aureus in a specifically designed nutrientlimiting and controlled growth conditions not in usual culture flasks but in a chemostat, which simulates the host environment . We took samples (for DNA, RNA, and cellular analysis) every day. Our novel approach and analysis has provided a number of new findings about persister cells, ultimately revealing the evolution of a distinct and unique S. aureus cell-type. Our application of modern technologies has created a new understanding of the systems that are functional during the SCV state, including the identification of an extracellular coating that these SCV cells produced when grown over a prolonged time . We have now used other strains with the same growth parameters and seen the same outcomes, opening the possibility for identifying a universal pathway that S. aureus uses for this dormant and protected lifestyle. Understanding the common mechanisms bacteria such as S. aureus use to hide from the direct host immune responses or antibiotics and to switch to a dormant state is a central step in our ability to develop new therapies to combat bacterial infections and circumvent antibiotic tolerance. View the relevance to the Australian Curriculum Download our suggested lesson plan Have feedback or got a question? Click here to contact us.
May 2016 Issue 17