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PLOS Science Wednesday: Hi Reddit, we’re Hui and Jessica, and we recently discovered that oral streptococci may protect the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients from the deadly pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. – Ask Us Anything!
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Hi Reddit, My name is Hui Wu, a Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. My research focuses on microbial molecular mechanisms that contribute to oral infectious diseases, such as dental caries and periodontal disease. Specifically, I am interested in protein glycosylation pathways and using novel small molecules to inhibit bacterial biofilms. And I’m Jessica Scoffield, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. My research examines competitive interactions between commensals (“friendly bacteria”) and pathogens that occur in polymicrobial infections. I am particularly interested in discovering unique antimicrobial mechanisms used by commensal bacteria to inhibit pathogenic bacteria. We recently published a study titled A commensal streptococcus hijacks a Pseudomonas aeruginosa exopolysaccharide to promote biofilm formation, in PLOS Pathogens. The purpose of the study was to characterize the two-species biofilm of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a pathogen) and Streptococcus parasanguinis (a commensal), which are two bacteria that are present in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. Our study revealed that S. parasanguinis can utilize products made by P. aeruginosa to promote its own biofilm, while simultaneously restricting the incorporation of P. aeruginosa into the biofilm. Our findings suggest that commensals, such as S. parasanguinis, may be able to inhibit the persistence of P. aeruginosa. We will be answering your questions at 1pm ET – Ask Us Anything!