Scientists at the John Innes Centre (JIC), Norwich have today reported that a very successful antibiotic, which is harmless to humans but lethal to most bacteria, also kills plants. They have found that an enzyme, which is an important target for several families of antibiotics and was thought to exist only in bacteria, is also present in plants. The discovery sheds further light on plant evolution and highlights a potential area for development of new herbicides, while it has no significance with regard to the medical use and efficacy of the antibiotic. The discovery is reported online and in the latest volume of the international scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.
“Our interest is in the structure of DNA and in particular in an enzyme called DNA gyrase, which is crucial for maintaining the structure of the DNA molecule in bacteria” says Professor Tony Maxwell (Head of Biological Chemistry at JIC). “The antibiotic ciprofloxacin (Cipro), made famous in 2001 during the anthrax attacks in the US, targets DNA gyrase which, until now, we thought was a bacterial ‘Achilles heel’ because it had only been found in bacteria. However, we have now discovered that plants are sensitive to Cipro and that is because DNA gyrase is also important in plants”.
Working with the common weed Thale Cress (Arabidopsis thaliana) Dr. Melisa Wall, a member of Prof. Maxwell’s team at JIC, found DNA gyrase in both the chloroplasts and mitochondria in plant cells. These tiny structures (called organelles) are responsible for carrying out photosynthesis and respiration respectively. Scientists think that organelles originated from bacteria that were able to live in plant cells and over evolutionary time they eventually became highly specialised to perform particular functions for the cells they were living in. The fact that the organelles still use DNA gyrase is an echo of their distant past as free-living bacteria.
Ray Mathias | alfa
Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country
New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
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...
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...
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...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences