1. Key structural components/biology of the organism
Bacteria are among the most common kinds of pathogens. They have a cell wall which is frequently marked with biological tags specific to the individual organism. Thus many treatments for bacterial infections attempt to target their cell wall to try and puncture it, causing the bacterium to lyse and be destroyed. Bacterium are prokaryotic single celled organisms. This means that they have no nucleus and no organelles. They collect nutrients from their environments and propel themselves via pili or flagellum.
2. Mechanisms of pathogenesis (how does it cause disease)
Bacteria can enter the body in numerous ways–mouth, skin, nose, etc. If they multiply enough, they cause an infection. These infections are caused by microbes themselves, or by poisons called toxins that they produce. The two main types of toxins utilized by bacteria are endotoxins and exotoxins. Endotoxins are the result of toxins found within the bacterial envelope or cell wall. When the bacteria is killed, this toxin is released by the decomposing cell into the environment. Exotoxins are released by bacteria as a byproduct of their normal metabolism, either being released as a byproduct of their biological processes or as a deliberate action to harm the host.
3. Treatment options and how they relate to the biology of the organism
When someone has a bacterial infection, antibiotics are likely the most effective treatment option. An antibiotic is a medicine that inhibits the growth of, or destroys microorganisms. The first antibiotic, penicillin, was discovered by Alexander Fleming. Penicillin revolutionized doctor’s ability to combat bacterial illness. There are multiple types of antibiotics based on the ways that they disrupt bacteria. A beta-lactam antibiotic kills bacteria that are surrounded by a cell wall. The macrolide group of antibiotics impacts ribosomes and alters protein production. Quinolones are antibiotics that cause DNA strands to break and prevent the breaks from being repaired.
4. Examples of diseases caused by this organism
Tuberculosis is an infection of the lungs which can cause symptoms similar to the flu at first before debilitating or killing the host. TB is one of the rare bacterial infections which will enter the body’s own cells and use them as a host. The Bubonic plague, or Black Death, is transmitted by the bite of an infected flea. The disease can be fatal, first disfiguring its victims with grotesque bubos, pus filled lumps over the body’s lymph nodes. Cholera is diarrheal disease, causing intense dehydration and even death.