Neutrons help to analyse outer surface interactions on Gram-negative bacteria

Researchers have been using neutrons to explore the complex outer surfaces of Escherichia coli, and they have revealed in the process, with great precision and detail, how such bacteria interact with their surroundings. Understanding these interactions is crucial, as E. coli infections can lead to fatal sepsis if untreated.

This research was conducted in a collaboration between the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) and the Max Plank Institute of Colloids and Interfaces. It focused on lipopolysaccharides (LPS), the carbohydrates found on the surface of E. coli. LPS molecules are responsible for a wide range of infections; they cover roughly 75% of the surface area of all Gram-negative bacteria and play a key role in how the bacteria affect the human immune system.

Using neutron reflectometry, the team analysed the structure of the outer surface of the LPS and tested its response to various conditions, including the absence of positively charged calcium ions, which influences the structure of bacteria, making them vulnerable to antimicrobial compounds.

The scientists were able to examine the biological surfaces in a realistic environment and draw more accurate conclusions about the intricate mechanisms at play. This understanding of the interactions taking place on the surface in various conditions will help researchers establish novel approaches in the development of antimicrobial agents.

www.ill.eu/D17

 

Other news

Upcoming Events

Managing Cultural Differences in the Workplace

The Holiday Inn - Kensington Forum, 97 Cromwell Road, London SW7 4DN
21 January 2019

British Society for Haematology Paediatric Symposium

Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, 5-11 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8SH
14 February 2019

Challenges in the clinical biochemistry laboratory and beyond

The Royal College of Pathologists
28 February 2019

British Society for Haematology 59th Annual Scientific Meeting

SEC Glasgow
1-3 April 2019

Focus 2019

SEC Glasgow
1-3 May 2019

Latest Issue

Pathology In Practice

Pathology In Practice

Dec 2018

Molecular diagnostics and LAMP technology

Register now to apply for regular copies of Pathology In Practice and free access to premium content, as well as our regular newsletters.