Whether dormant bacteria begin to reproduce is no accidence. Rather, they are simply waiting for a clear signal from a single protein in the cell interior. ETH researchers have now deciphered the molecular mechanisms behind this.
In Uwe Sauer's opinion, these new findings not only serve to further basic research, they might also form the basis for specific applications: FtsZ is present not just in E. coli but in almost all species of bacteria, including pathogens such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. “If we want to prevent dormant bacteria from beginning to divide, then FtsZ is a good point of attack,” Sauer says. For some years now, several laboratories have been conducting research into substances that accelerate the breakdown of FtsZ, which makes them promising candidates for new antibiotics.