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!
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