Scientists uncover attractive ‘compartments’ in bacteria

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Bacteria — small and in some cases deadly single-celled organisms — are usually much more complex than thought.

A review paper by the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute (BDI), published in the journal High Impact Nature Review Microbiology, Sheds light on organelles, the internal compartments in bacterial cells that house and support functions necessary for their survival and development.

BDI professor Trevor Lithgow and associate professor Chris Greening, experts in bacterial cell biology and physiology, were invited to review the worldwide available scientific literature to consolidate the latest knowledge of organelle.

“Until recently the bacteria was a bag of enzymes, the simplest type of cells,” Professor Lithgow said. “New developments in nanoscale imaging have shown that internal compartments — organelles — make them very complex.”

Cryoelectron microscopy and super-resolution microscopy have allowed scientists to fathom the functioning of bacterial organelles, which are typically 10,000 times smaller than a pinhead. Professor Lithgow stated that BDI has been at the forefront of Australia in adopting and developing the use of these technologies.

He said, “It has been a rewarding experience of scholarly review and has been able to show a broad scale of work that demonstrates the complexity of bacterial cells.”

Organelle enables bacteria to do extraordinary work. They help the photosynthesis of bacteria in dimly lit environments, break down toxic compounds such as rocket fuel or even orient themselves relative to the Earth’s magnetic field by lining magnetic iron particles. Some bacteria use gas collected within the organelles to allow them to grow deeper into the water, to allow optimal access to light and nutrients for growth or division.

Understanding and understanding the complexities of bacterial cells is important not only for scientific knowledge, but also for biotechnological applications and for addressing global issues of human health.

Associate Professor Professor Greening said, “Organelle enables many bacteria for us, ranging from supporting basic ecosystem functions to also being useful for biotechnological advances.” The deadly pathogen that causes tuberculosis, e.g. , Smears fatty molecules from our own bodies and stores them in the organelles as energy stores, helping the pathogen to remain in our lungs for years, compromising healing and reducing the possibility of drug resistance Generates. “

Professor Lithgow said that combating drug-resistant infections is a significant problem for humans in the 21st century. “The death toll we are seeing for viral infections at these times of COVID-19 is terrible, but the projection is that by 2050 at least 22,000 Australians (and 10 million people worldwide) will be caught on drugs every year Will die due to infection. Resistant bacteria, “he said.

Special cellular compartments discovered in bacteria

more information:
Chris Greening et al. Formation and function of bacterial organelle, Nature Review Microbiology (2020). DOI: 10.1038 / s41579-020-0413-0

Provided by Monash University

Quotes: Scientists uncover attractive ‘compartments’ in bacteria (2020, 30 July) from 30 July 2020

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