Leadership Instincts: A new tool to decide on making or breaking a dam developed  |  Science Innovations: The death and resurrection of kilogram  |  Parent Interventions: Music improves communication skills of autistic children   |  Teacher Insights: Do you undergo ‘social jet lag’?  |  Parent Interventions: Social media could affect self-esteem of women  |  Technology Inceptions: Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ With 512MB RAM, 5GHz Wi-Fi Connectivity Launched  |  Technology Inceptions: AMD Radeon RX 590 Mid-Range GPU Announced for Full-HD PC Gaming  |  Leadership Instincts: When ‘small changes’ better than ‘no change’ at all  |  Science Innovations: Alexa and Siri may in future learn language as kids do!  |  Teacher Insights: Ideas are contagious as disease  |  Science Innovations: Universe: Why is there something, instead of nothing?  |  Technology Inceptions: NASA's Hubble Telescope finds smiling face in space  |  Cover Story: HOME TRANSFORMERS FAMILIES WILL NEVER BE THE SAME  |  Cover Story: Thou shalt not discriminate  |  Rajagiri Round Table: FOR AN EQUAL SHARE OF THE PIE  |  
  • Pallikkutam Magazine
  • Companion Magazine
  • Mentor
  • Smart Board

February 06, 2018 Tuesday 01:02:54 PM IST
Bacteria Lessons on How to Defend Virus

6th February, 2018: Phages, a kind of viruses are dangerous for bacteria; they can infect and kill bacteria. Naturally, bacteria have developed mechanisms to defend themselves against viral attacks. Scientists of University of California, USA, have recently identified such mechanisms adopted by bacteria against viral attacks. They have identified ten sets of bacterial genes, which have roles of defending against viruses, as per the study published in Science recently.

The current discovery “probably more than doubles the number of immune systems known in bacteria,” says Joseph Bondy-Denomy, a microbiologist at the University of California.

During viral infection, phages usually hijack bacteria’s genetic machinery and force them to produce viral DNA instead. Some bacteria are smart enough to store the pieces of past invader’s DNA so that they could recognize and fend off those phages in the future. This amounts to only 40% of the total bacteria. What are the defense mechanisms of the rest of bacteria? This was the question triggered the current research.

Researchers sifted through genetic information from about 45,000 microbes from far and wide, including from the bottom of the sea, to identify their defense mechanism against virus. Researchers found that nine groups of bacterial genes actually had antiphage defense system. One other gene protected bacteria against plasmids, another source of foreign DNA in bacteria. Some of the genes so identified were contained fragments of DNA that are also known to be an important part of the innate immune system in plants, mammals and invertebrates.

The newly identified genes are named after deities like Zorya, a pair of goddesses from Slavic mythology.

Researchers believe that their results will trigger further studies and would lead to the development of novel tools for defense against viruses in biotechnology.

Comments