Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quorum Sensing, Bonnie Bassler, and Glowing Cats.

     Bonnie Bassler, a graduate from Princeton University, is now a leading scientist in the discovery of bacteria, and the revolution of bacteria as well. Bassler was interviewed by NOVA about her recent research on a form of bacteria that has a blue glow to it. The bacteria is called Vibrio harveyi. She also talked about the astonishing science of quarom sensing, which is essentially what allows bacteria to be multi-cellular.

    In the article, Bassler talked about many things involving bacteria. Such as how much is actually around us and how most of the bacteria isn't even harmful. How there are ten times more bacteria in our bodies, than the cells that are in our bodies. She stated that "They protect us. And you can't even digest your food without the bacteria that are in your gut. They have enzymes and proteins that allow you to metabolize foods you eat.", essentially meaning that we need bacteria to function. And sure there are some that are bad, but there are also so many good forms. Our bodies are swarming with bacteria, and we don't even have the slightest idea what it would be like without it. We are stuck with bacteria, so we better get used to having it stick around.


       Also in the article there was talk about quarum sensing, which in other words, is how bacterium actually communicates with each other. Yes, bacteria doesn't seem like they would communicate with each other, i mean they don't even have a nucleus! But they send out chemicals, and that is how the bacteria ultimately communicates with each other. While bacteria is growing, each different cell releases a small amount of chemicals, auto-inducers. And with those more and more molecules begin to grow.


      The bacterium that started this whole thing was the glowing blue bacteria that I had previously said in this post, Vibrio harveyi. This is the bacteria that they look at to see how Quarom sensing actually works...
      I know what you are thinking, get back to the glowing bacteria. Well, it seems like it should be a rare thing, but actually in the ocean it is the norm to have a glow to anything, so they can naturally see. I was watching something on the Internet a few months ago, and actually they had animals (cats, rats, birds) eat food with some kind of bacterium like this one and the animals grew up to glow as well. It just goes to show you how astonishing this all is.

     But back to the Quarom Sensing, this bacteria is controlled by Quarom Sensing, which is why they glow. They send out the chemicals and in turn it brings a blue luminescence to the bacteria. This is also providing research for future bacteria and how Quarom Sensing will be intertwined with that as well.
     I personally think that this is an amazing thing to have, I can think of so many ways we could potentially use Quarom Sensing in our daily lives, and how actually we are already using it with out even knowing. It's a great thing to have scientists like Bonnie Bassler and her crew to figure out new things, and potentially change the world.

R. Gent

1 comment:

  1. Good pictures and links. A couple misspellings. Other than that, good summary of this article. Your writings are quick and interesting to read :) 23