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
Alkaline soil, sensible sensor
03.08.2017 | American Society of Agronomy
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences