Direct Fluorescent Labeling of Live Bacterial Cells
Bacterial resistance is a rapidly emerging public health threat that underscores the need for development of novel antibiotic agents with new modes of action. The bacterial cell wall has been an attractive target for the development of antibiotics, but there are limited methods that allow direct visualization of active sites of cell growth and no methods to assess antimicrobial activity in situ. Recently, Professor Michael VanNieuwenhze and Professor Yves Brun (Biology) have developed a one-step method to label zones of growth in live bacterial cells. The method relies upon the ability of the bacterial cell to incorporate fluorescently-modified D-amino acids into its cell wall. This method has been applied to a broad array of evolutionarily diverse bacteria and it provides a powerful new tool for development of a better understanding of the basic mechanisms of bacterial growth and how it may be modified in response to environmental factors.