Our genetic code consists of four “letters” in the form of the nucleobases in our DNA and RNA. Three letters together form a “word” that are translated into an amino acid by tRNA and combined into proteins. Special markings subdivide the gene into active and inactive regions.
A third possible level of information has so far received less attention: the chemical modification of tRNA nucleobases. In the journal Angewandte Chemie Thomas Carell and a team at the University of Munich have now demonstrated that tRNA modification profiles can be used for the characterization of species and the differentiation of pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacterial strains.
There are over 100 different modifications that occur in RNA, the exact informational function of which remains unknown. Some are thought to improve the maintenance of reading frames; others may influence the stability of the RNA or participate in “proofreading”. It was recently discovered that the entire collective of modified tRNA nucleosides is a regulative component of the stress response.
In order to learn more about the function of modified nucleobases, the researchers investigated which modifications occur in what numbers in various species. They examined several gram-positive and gram-negative strains of bacteria, various fungi, and different cell components from pigs.
It turns out that the set of modified bases, as a whole, is largely species-specific. Related species have similar profiles, while unrelated ones are clearly different. Says Carell: “We were able to use this data to compute a detailed family tree of the various species that agreed with results from conventional methods. The entire sets of base modifications of a species clearly developed under the pressure of evolutionary selection.”
The researchers compared pairs of pathogenic and nonpathogenic, as well as antibiotic-resistant and non-resistant bacteria. “The bacteria we studied are among the most dangerous clinical pathogens and are responsible for many deaths,” according to Carell. “It was possible to differentiate between the harmless and dangerous species by using the tRNA modification profile.” For the listeria and staphylococci that were analyzed, the pathogenic and resistant species had a significantly higher proportion of some modified bases. “This is an indication that the translation process, that is the translation of the genetic code into proteins, occurs in a significantly different way than in less dangerous strains of these bacteria.”
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Cholera bacteria infect more effectively with a simple twist of shape
13.01.2017 | Princeton University
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction