Bacteria can travel thousands of kilometers without assistance?
Bacteria are capable of moving thousands of kilometers and do not need the help of humans or animals to do so, scientists say. New research suggests that microorganisms can travel by air and spread antibiotic resistance genes to even the remotest corners of the world.
The widespread view is that the bacteria podrróthey chew along with their carriers – humans or animals. A new concept „air bridge” scientistsów from Rutgers University suggests that the microbes do not need a host and are able to spread over long distances without anyone’s help.
– Our research suggests that there must be a planet-wide mechanism thatóry provides an exchange of bacteria between distant sites,” said Konstantin Severinov, coóroutor of the Rutgers University-New Brunswick study. – Bacteriophages, whichóre studying, live in very hot water – more than 70 degrees Celsius – in remote places and it is not imaginable that they are transported by animals, birds or humans. They must be transported by air, and this movement must be very extensive – added.
Severinov and his colleagues studied the „molecular memories” Bacteria from their encounters with viruses. Viruses thatóre of these bacterial fragments, which attack bacteria – bacteriophages, leave a trace in someóhe DNA regions of bacteria. It was these „molecular memories”. Actually, information about past viral infections. Comórki, whichóre survive infections, they transmit this information – small fragments of viral DNA – to their descendants. The sequence of these memories allows scientists to trace the history of bacterial interactions with viruses over time.
Bacteriophages are very widespread and ubiquitous life forms on our planet. Viruses have a profound effect on microbial populationsów, their community structure and evolution. The transmission of fragments by bacteriaóin viral DNA from one generation to the next is a form of self-defense. During the next encounter with a given bacteriophage, bacteria can more effectively resist itór.
Scientists collected heat-loving bacteria Thermus thermophilus of several remote locations on Earth. From the hot gravel on Mount Vesuvius and hot sources ofódeles on Etna in Italy, from hot sources ofódrones in the El Tatio region in pónorthern Chile, in the Termas del Flaco region of southern Chile, and from hot sourceódeł in the caldera of the Uzon volcano in Kamchatka, Russia.
Initially, scientists thought that bacteria of the same species living in hot sources ofódles thousands of kilometersóin from each other – and therefore isolated from each other – will have very ró¿ne „memories” from their encounters with viruses. That’s because all bacteria should have independent histories of viral infections.
But the compositeół scientistsów discovered that someóre of these fragmentedóIn viral DNA were similar in all these places thousands of kilometers awayóin from each other. It seems that at least someóre strains T. thermophilus have traveled vast intercontinental distances and without any help from other living beings.
Earlier this year, in próbkach of soil from the Arctic found a gene thatóry provides microorganisms with multi-resistance – resistance to many antibioticsów. Perhaps the superbugs got there by taking advantage of the scientist’s mentionedów from Rutgers University „air bridge”. For more on this topic, see Superbacteria wandered into pristine areas of the Arctic.
– We discovered that there were many wspólnych „memories” – identical viral DNA fragments stored in the same order in the DNA of bacteria from distant hot sourcesódeł. Our analysis could provide useful information for ecological and epidemiological studies of diseaseóric bacteria thatóre spreading antibiotic resistance genes around the world without the help of humans – Severinov pointed out.
Now the researchers want to test their hypothesis „air bridge” Taking próair bugs on róThe high altitudes and in the rósive locations around the world. Researchers will have to use an airplaneów, droneóin and balloonóIn a research. This will allow porównanie groups of bacteria and their history. Ultimately, this should give us a better idea of how bacteria, including antibiotic-resistant onesów, spread globally, which in turn may result in better protection against them.
Sourceóbackground: Rutgers University, fot. Yaroslav Ispolatov. In the photo, hot sourcesód in the El Tatio region in póNORTHERN CHILE.