News of the WeekMicrobiology

Bakers' Yeast Blooms Into Biofilms

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Science  02 Feb 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5505, pp. 806-807
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5505.806B

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Lack of a good model system has made fungal biofilms--which frequently contaminate medical devices, cause chronic vaginal infections, and lead to life-threatening systemic infections in people with hobbled immune systems--harder to study than their bacterial counterparts. Now, on page 878, researchers report that they've coaxed a harmless fungus, bakers' yeast, to form a biofilm. Because bakers' yeast is so well studied, researchers predict that this new biofilm model will expose vulnerabilities that can be targeted in other, pathogenic fungi.