Bacterial Pathogenesis, Virulence and Counter measures

The research in the development of effective chemical countermeasures for gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial infections involves biofilms. The pathogenic nature of many infectious bacteria is enhanced by their ability to form surface associated, protected communities known as "biofilms". Due to various factors, bacteria in biofilm communities display significantly greater resistance to traditional antimicrobial therapies than their planktonic brethren. In nature, and in many medical situations, colonies of bacteria construct and live in a biofilm, made up principally of capsule material. Particularly, several classes of chemical compounds have shown promise in combating biofilms when used in conjunction with traditional antimicrobials. The vast majority of these compounds exert their anti-biofilm properties through disruption of "quorum sensing," a common means of intercellular communication in bacterial communities that allows coordinated expression of virulence factors and facilitates formation of the oft-complex architecture of mature bacterial biofilms. Successful pathogens, such as Pseudomonas syringae, have developed countermeasures and inject virulence proteins into the host plant cell to suppress immunity and cause devastating diseases. Despite intensive research efforts, the molecular targets of bacterial virulence proteins that are important for plant disease development have remained obscure. Rotaviruses are the leading cause of severe gastroenteritis in infants and young children of <5 years of age worldwide and they are the cause of approximately half a million deaths each year. The worldwide epidemiological impact of RV infection pointed the development of safe and effective vaccines against RVs as a public health priority. Bacterial surface components may have a primary biological function that has nothing to do with pathogenicity. Thus, the function of the LPS in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria has to do with its permeability characteristics, rather than its toxicity for animals. However, there are endless examples wherein a bacterial surface component plays an indispensable role in the pathogenesis of infectious disease. The pathogenesis of many bacterial infections cannot be separated from the host immune response, for much of the tissue damage is caused by the host response rather than by bacterial factors. The degree of virulence is related directly to the ability of the organism to cause disease despite host resistance mechanisms; it is affected by numerous variables such as the number of infecting bacteria, route of entry into the body, specific and nonspecific host defense mechanisms, and virulence factors of the bacterium. Virulence can be measured experimentally by determining the number of bacteria required to causing animal death, illness, or lesions in a defined period after the bacteria are administered by a designated route. Consequently, calculations of a lethal dose affecting 50 percent of a population of animals (LD50) or an effective dose causing a disease symptom in 50 percent of a population of animals (ED50) are useful in comparing the relative virulence of different bacteria. Since the 1990s, the number of new antibacterial drugs has plummeted and the number of antibiotic-resistant infections has risen, which has decreased the effective treatment of many disorders, including sepsis. We aimed to assess whether funding for bacteriology and antibiotic research to UK researchers had increased in response to this global crisis. We identified 609 projects within the specialty of bacteriology, 196 (32•2%) of which were on antibiotics. Of £13 846•1 million of available research funding, £269•2 million (1•9%) was awarded to bacteriology projects and £95•0 million (0•7%) was awarded for research on antibiotics. Additionally, £181•4 million in European Union (EU) funding was awarded to antibiotic research consortia including researchers based within the UK, including two EU Innovative Medicines Initiative awards, totaling £85•2 million.
  • Bacterial structure relationship to pathogenicity
  • Antimicrobial agents- infectious diseases
  • Gastro enteritis and Pertussis
  • Water-borne infections and epidemiology of infections
  • Bacterial Signaling and Quorum Sensing
  • Biofilms

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