Bacteria Produces Minicells for its Survival


Researchers at the University of California San Diego demonstrated that minicells play an important role the self-preservation of bacteria.

Bacteria produce small substances that might resemble spherical versions of itself. Scientists have recently found that small substances, or ‘minicells’ have ability to act as delivery tools for transferring drugs and vaccines to target cells and tissue sites. The minicells are bulgy in nature and protrudes in the shape of budding balloons at the edges of bacteria.

Researchers understood the mechanism of minicells, which could be used as drug delivery carriers for treating diseases in delicate veins and tissues. Their work was published in the journal, mSphere on September 2018, which discusses about E. coli bacteria discharging damaged proteins bundled inside minicells as a mechanism to live.

Camilla Rang, a research specialist in Division of Biological Sciences Professor Lin Chao’s laboratory and first author of the paper, said, “it’s amazing that even bacteria take out their garbage, we have shown that minicells can be beneficial for the bacteria and help them escape death by kicking out the damaged proteins.”

The researchers examined minicells and bacterial cells’ growth to find a link between them by tracking the units with fluorescent markers. Using microscopy techniques, the researchers observed the cells movements when attacking it with antibiotics such as streptomycin.

“The advantage that minicells provide in the presence of streptomycin suggests that they could also play a role in helping bacterial cells resist, survive or persist when challenged with antibiotics,” according to the researchers. The findings provide deep mechanistic insights on molecular drug delivery systems using minicells.


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