When the body senses an infection, one of the first lines of defense is to send immune molecules called host-derived antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) to target and kill bacteria. However, bacteria have learned to resist AMPs through a series of countermeasures such as remodeling their outer membrane surface to be less permeable. Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHI) is such a bacterium.
NTHI resides in the human upper airway, typically without causing any harm. However, NTHI has the ability to change from a non-harmful bacterium to a disease causing pathogen, responsible for pink eye, sinusitis, middle ear infection and complications of cystic fibrosis. "When transitioning to a harmful pathogen, NTHI defends against increased production of AMPs by using the Sap, which stands for sensitivity to antimicrobial peptides, proteins to arm against attack, " said Kevin M. Mason, PhD, principal investigator in the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital and lead study author. "Yet, it's unclear just how the Sap transporter complex provides protection against AMPs."
To help explain the mechanisms that NTHI uses to protect itself from AMPs, Dr. Mason's team examined an animal model of middle ear infection. They had previously shown that NTHI bacteria lacking the protein SapA were susceptible to AMP attack. In the study, they describe the Sap transporter system that recognizes and transports host immune defense molecules into the bacterial cell. This system is necessary for the bacteria to survive in the host.
"It seems that NTHI senses the presence of these immune molecules, steals them from the host and arms itself to protect against future attacks," said Dr. Mason. "NTHI imports AMPs into the bacterial cell and then degrades them in the interior of the cell. By remodeling its membranes, the bacterium appears as already attacked, which protects it from being bothered by additional AMPs. Basically, transporting AMPs acts as a counter strategy to evade innate immune defense and ultimately benefits the bacterium nutritionally." This study provides the first direct evidence that the protein SapA contributes to bacterial survival by providing protection from AMPs in the host.
Dr. Mason says that targeting the Sap transport system may provide a way to use AMP derivatives as alternatives to antibiotics to treat NTHI infections. "Our long-range goal is to block this uptake system and starve the bacterium of essential nutrients. If we could develop a small molecule inhibitor that could block binding and transport, we could render NTHI susceptible to immune attack, while preserving the body's normal bacteria that are often disrupted by conventional antibiotic use."
For more information about Dr. Kevin Mason, visit http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/kevin-mason
For more information about the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis, visit http://www.nationwidechildrens.org/microbial-pathogens
Erin Pope | EurekAlert!
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
Asian dust providing key nutrients for California's giant sequoias
28.03.2017 | University of California - Riverside
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy