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First real-time video of bacteria infecting a living host

Scientists at the University of Bath and University of Exeter have developed a new technique that allows them to make a movie of bacteria infecting their living host. And, according to the researchers, the first film to follow the progress of infection in real-time with living organisms.

Using developing fruit fly embryos as a model organism, they injected fluorescently tagged bacteria into the embryos and observed their interaction with the insect's immune system using time-lapse confocal microscopy.

The researchers can also tag individual bacterial proteins to follow their movement and determine their specific roles in the infection process.

The scientists are hoping to use this system in the future with human pathogens such as Listeria and Trypanosomes. By observing how these bacteria interact with the immune system, researchers will gain a better understanding of how they cause an infection and could eventually lead to better antibacterial treatments.

















The insect immune cells known as hemocytes (green) rapidly engulf the bacteria following infection and this can be studied in real-time using timelapse microscopy. Credit: Isabella Vlisidou, University of Bath
 
 

Comments (3)

  1. That is so cool! Definitely has potential for gaining insight into host-pathogen interactions.
  2. I know, I must of clicked play 10 times at least.
  3. FYI another article on this story is at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727113102.htm

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