Tübingen and Berlin scientists investigate pathogens by help of solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy – Publications in Nature Methods and Nature Scientific Reports
lollipop structures enabling the bacteria to attach to their host cells. Copyright: Barth van Rossum/Leibniz-Institut fuer Molekulare Pharmakologie
Yersinia enterocolitica, a pathogenic bacterium, causes fever and diarrhea. By help of a protein anchored in its membrane, Yersinia attaches to its host cells and infects them. Scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen and the Leibniz-Institut fuer Molekulare Pharmakologie in Berlin have determined the structure of an important component of the membrane protein and have gained insight into its biogenesis. The membrane proteins provide an interesting starting point for the development of new antibiotics against pathogens.
Several diseases are caused by an infection with Yersinia enterocolitica. In babies the bacteria induce fever and diarrhea, in adolescents and adults they cause inflammations of the small intestine and various forms of inflammatory arthritis. Yersinia can be transmitted to humans directly from animals, especially pigs, if for example meat has not been heated sufficiently. Special membrane proteins of the bacteria, so-called adhesins, do not only look like lollipops, but are also as sticky as the sweets. They enable the bacteria to attach to their host cells and to invade them. The adhesins reach the bacterial surface by a complex autotransport mechanism. In their study the scientists concentrated on the membrane domain of the complex protein that is responsible for the transport of the extracellular domains. “This study could only be carried out in a true collaboration,” says Dirk Linke from the Max Planck Institute. The study was funded by the ‘Forschungsprogramm Methoden für die Lebenswissenschaften’ of the Baden-Württemberg Stiftung.
Proteins located in the membrane are often difficult to isolate, purify and crystallize. It is therefore challenging to study them by conventional structure determination methods. The scientists used solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to gain structural information about the membrane protein domain. “In addition, magnetic resonance spectroscopy provides insight into the transport dynamics,” explains Barth van Rossum from the Leibniz Institute.
Yersinia belongs to the class of gram-negative bacteria who are bounded by a specially structured outer double membrane. Many more pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella, legionella or the Cholera pathogen are members of this group causing diarrhea, infections of the urinary tract or the pulmonary tract. The scientists assume that, similar to Yersinia, many gram-negative bacteria make use of membrane proteins in the infection process. “However, in human cells this type of membrane protein is not to be found,” says Dirk Linke. Hopes are that the knowledge about the autotransporter proteins will help in the development of new substances to specifically block transport processes at the membrane of pathogenic bacteria. However the scientists state that there is still a long way to go. They will now conduct new experiments to systematically apply changes to the particularly flexible parts of the protein domain in order to reach a deeper understanding of its mechanism.Original publications:
Shakeel A. Shahid, Stefan Markovic, Dirk Linke & Barth-Jan van Rossum: Assignment and secondary structure of the YadA membrane protein by solid-state MAS NMR. Scientific Reports (2012); doi: 10.1038/srep00803
Janna Eberhardt | Max-Planck-Institut
Further reports about: > Leibniz-Institut > Max Planck Institute > Molekulare Pharmakologie > Nature Immunology > Yersinia enterocolitica > Yersinia pseudotuberculosis > gram-negative bacteria > host cells > human cell > magnetic resonance > magnetic resonance spectroscopy > membrane protein > methods > nuclear magnetic resonance > nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy > pathogenic bacteria > synthetic biology
Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications
Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...
Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.
The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...
Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."
Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
05.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Life Sciences
08.12.2017 | Information Technology
08.12.2017 | Information Technology