Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antibacterial protein’s molecular workings revealed

22.02.2013
On the front lines of our defenses against bacteria is the protein calprotectin, which “starves” invading pathogens of metal nutrients.
Vanderbilt investigators now report new insights to the workings of calprotectin — including a detailed structural view of how it binds the metal manganese. Their findings, published online before print in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could guide efforts to develop novel antibacterials that limit a microbe’s access to metals.

The increasing resistance of bacteria to existing antibiotics poses a severe threat to public health, and new therapeutic strategies to fight these pathogens are needed.
The idea of “starving” bacteria of metal nutrients is appealing, said Eric Skaar, Ph.D., MPH, associate professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

In a series of previous studies, Skaar, Walter Chazin, Ph.D., and Richard Caprioli, Ph.D., demonstrated that calprotectin is highly expressed by host immune cells at sites of infection. They showed that calprotectin inhibits bacterial growth by “mopping up” the manganese and zinc that bacteria need for replication.

Now, the researchers have identified the structural features of calprotectin’s two metal binding sites and demonstrated that manganese binding is key to its antibacterial action.

Calprotectin is a member of the family of S100 calcium-binding proteins, which Chazin, professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, has studied for many years. Chazin and postdoctoral fellow Steven Damo, Ph.D., used existing structural data from other S100 family members to zero in on calprotectin’s two metal binding sites. Then, they selectively mutated one site or the other.

They discovered that calprotectin with mutations in one of the two sites still bound both zinc and manganese, but calprotectin with mutations in the other site only bound zinc.

The researchers recognized that these modified calprotectins — especially the one that could no longer bind manganese — would be useful tools for determining the importance of manganese binding to calprotectin’s functions, Chazin noted.

Thomas Kehl-Fie, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in Skaar’s group, used these altered calprotectins to demonstrate that the protein’s ability to bind manganese is required for full inhibition of Staphylococcus aureus growth. The investigators also showed that Staph bacteria require manganese for a certain process the bacteria use to protect themselves from reactive oxygen species.

“These altered calprotectin proteins were key to being able to tease apart the importance of the individual metals — zinc and manganese – to the bacterium as a whole and to metal-dependent processes within the bacteria,” Skaar said. “They’re really powerful tools.”

Skaar explained that calprotectin likely binds two different metals to increase the range of bacteria that it inhibits. The investigators tested the modified calprotectins against a panel of medically important bacterial pathogens.

“Bacteria have different metal needs,” Skaar said. “Some bacteria are more sensitive to the zinc-binding properties of calprotectin, and others are more sensitive to the manganese-binding properties.”

To fully understand how calprotectin binds manganese, Damo and Chazin — with assistance from Günter Fritz, Ph.D., at the University of Freiburg in Germany — produced calprotectin crystals with manganese bound and determined the protein structure. They found that manganese slips into a position where it interacts with six histidine amino acids of calprotectin.

It’s really beautiful; no one’s ever seen a protein chelate (bind) manganese like this,” Chazin said.“It’s really beautiful; no one’s ever seen a protein chelate (bind) manganese like this,” Chazin said.

The structure explains why calprotectin is the only S100 family member that binds manganese and has the strongest antimicrobial action, and it may allow researchers to design a calprotectin that only binds manganese (not zinc). Such a tool would be useful for studying why bacteria require manganese — and then targeting those microbial processes in new therapeutic strategies, Chazin and Skaar noted.

“We do not know all of the processes within Staph that require manganese; we just know if they don’t have it, they die,” Skaar said. “If we can discover the proteins in Staph that require manganese — the things that are required for growth — then we can target those proteins.”

The team recently was awarded a five-year, $2 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (AI101171) to advance their studies of calprotectin and how it works to limit bacterial infections and in other inflammatory conditions.

“Nature stumbled onto an interesting antimicrobial strategy,” Chazin said. “Our goal is to really tease apart the importance of metal binding to all of calprotectin’s different roles — and to take advantage of our findings to design new antibacterial agents.”

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (CA009582, HL094296, AI091771, AI069233, AI073843, GM062122). Skaar holds the Ernest W. Goodpasture Chair in Pathology; Chazin holds the Chancellor’s Chair in Biochemistry and Chemistry and is director of the Vanderbilt Center for Structural Biology.
Contact:
Leigh MacMillan, (615) 322-4747
leigh.macmillan@vanderbilt.edu

Leigh MacMillan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Family tree for orchids explains their astonishing variability
04.09.2015 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Gone with the wind: A new project focusses on atmospheric input of phosphorus into the Baltic Sea
04.09.2015 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Hubble survey unlocks clues to star birth in neighboring galaxy

In a survey of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope images of 2,753 young, blue star clusters in the neighboring Andromeda galaxy (M31), astronomers have found that M31 and our own galaxy have a similar percentage of newborn stars based on mass.

By nailing down what percentage of stars have a particular mass within a cluster, or the Initial Mass Function (IMF), scientists can better interpret the light...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact Inverter for Uninterruptible Power Supplies

Silicon Carbide Components Enable Efficiency of 98.7 percent

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE have developed a highly compact and efficient inverter for use in uninterruptible power...

Im Focus: How wind sculpted Earth's largest dust deposit

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from University of Arizona geoscientists. The study is the first to explain how the steep-fronted plateau formed.

China's Loess Plateau was formed by wind alternately depositing dust or removing dust over the last 2.6 million years, according to a new report from...

Im Focus: An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets

The leaves of the lotus flower, and other natural surfaces that repel water and dirt, have been the model for many types of engineered liquid-repelling surfaces. As slippery as these surfaces are, however, tiny water droplets still stick to them. Now, Penn State researchers have developed nano/micro-textured, highly slippery surfaces able to outperform these naturally inspired coatings, particularly when the water is a vapor or tiny droplets.

Enhancing the mobility of liquid droplets on rough surfaces could improve condensation heat transfer for power-plant heat exchangers, create more efficient...

Im Focus: Increasingly severe disturbances weaken world's temperate forests

Longer, more severe, and hotter droughts and a myriad of other threats, including diseases and more extensive and severe wildfires, are threatening to transform some of the world's temperate forests, a new study published in Science has found. Without informed management, some forests could convert to shrublands or grasslands within the coming decades.

"While we have been trying to manage for resilience of 20th century conditions, we realize now that we must prepare for transformations and attempt to ease...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Together - Work - Experience

03.09.2015 | Event News

Networking conference in Heidelberg for outstanding mathematicians and computer scientists

20.08.2015 | Event News

Scientists meet in Münster for the world’s largest Chitin und Chitosan Conference

20.08.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ion implanted, co-annealed, screen-printed 21% efficient n-PERT solar cells with a bifaciality >97%

04.09.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Casting of SiSiC: new perspectives for chemical and plant engineering

04.09.2015 | Machine Engineering

Extremely thin ceramic components made possible by extrusion

04.09.2015 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>