Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dartmouth researchers describe how the cholera bacteria becomes infectious

12.02.2010
In a new study, Dartmouth researchers describe the structure of a protein called ToxT that controls the virulent nature of Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria that causes cholera. Buried within ToxT, the researchers were surprised to find a fatty acid that appears to inhibit ToxT, which prevents the bacteria from causing cholera. Cholera, which causes acute diarrhea, can be life threatening, and, according to the World Health Organization, cholera remains a serious threat to global health.

Doctors have known that bile, found in the intestine, inhibits the expression of the virulence genes in V. cholerae, but until now, the mechanism behind this was not completely understood. This study provides a direct link between the environment of the gut and the regulation of virulence genes, and it also identifies the regulatory molecule.

"Finding a fatty acid in the structure was quite a surprise," says F. Jon Kull, associate professor of chemistry at Dartmouth and senior author on the paper. Kull is also a 1988 graduate of Dartmouth. "The exciting thing about this finding is that we might be able to use a small, natural molecule to treat and/or prevent cholera. We will also use the structure of the fatty acid as a framework to try and design a small molecule inhibitor of ToxT."

The study, "Structure of Vibrio cholerae ToxT reveals mechanism for fatty acid regulation of virulence genes," appeared in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of February 1.

Kull's co-authors on the paper are Michael Lowden and Maria Pellegrini with the Department of Chemistry at Dartmouth; Michael Chiorazzo, a summer undergraduate research fellow; and Karen Skorupski and Ronald Taylor with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Dartmouth Medical School.

The researchers used X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of ToxT. The process involves taking DNA from V. cholerae and using non-pathogenic E. coli bacteria to produce large amounts of the target protein, in this case, ToxT. Once protein has been purified, it is concentrated and crystallized. Then the crystal, which is an ordered array of protein molecules, is subjected to a powerful X-ray beam. The pattern of diffracted X-rays is collected on a detector and then analyzed using mathematical algorithms, eventually revealing the atomic structure of the protein.

Co-author Taylor also notes that "The results of the study are exciting from the points of view of both the mechanistic aspect of the complex regulation of V. cholerae virulence gene expression and the potential medical impact as we now move forward to apply this new knowledge to influence this mechanism to control infection in humans."

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Sue Knapp | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.dartmouth.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>