Color-coding bacteria

An interdisciplinary team has developed a technique for coloring in the cell wall of bacteria to allow researchers to follow how bacteria grow more easily. The system could allow the effects of novel antibiotics to be monitored more easily. Indiana University chemist Michael VanNieuwenhze and biologist Yves Brun explain how multicolored probes target cell wall synthesis and allow the processes involved in bacterial replication to be filmed for diagnostic purposes as well as studies of antibiotics that might ultimately defeat bacterial resistance to conventional drugs. Understanding the mechanisms controlling bacterial cell growth and shape is of tremendous importance in any area where we seek strategies for controlling bacteria, be it for the eradication of pathogens from the human body or the improvement of bacterial growth in bioremediation and industrial processes, VanNieuwenhze explains.