Austrian researchers from the University of Vienna have discovered bacteria dubbed as "nucleicultrix amoebiphila" which can enter the nucleus or "control centre" of cells.
The researchers from the Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem found the bacteria in the cell nuclei of amoeba organisms, which are able to change their shape, local media reported.
According to the research results the bacteria were able to ignore the defense systems of the host cells and directly infect the cell nuclei where they were also able to multiply.
"This direct attack on the nerve centre of highly-developed cells holds great potential in being able to manipulate the host," the research team said.
The little-studied bacteria could thereby determine which genes to turn on in the host cells. In addition they are well-protected against various defenses in the cell nucleus and would automatically be passed on in the case of a cell division, the team added.
The biologists said in the course of their investigations they found the bacteria did not appear to be particularly rare, and related micro-organisms could be found in a variety of environmental samples.
The so-called nucleiculturix amoebiphila poses no particular threat to humans, team leader Matthias Horn said, as there was no available evidence the bacteria functions as a pathogen, or disease agent.