Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Biochemists Identify Protease Substrates Important to Bacterial Growth

Reporting this month in Molecular Microbiology, Peter Chien and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst describe using a combination of biochemistry and mass spectrometry to “trap” scores of new candidate substrates of the protease ClpXP to reveal how protein degradation is critical to cell cycle progression and bacterial development. The new understanding could lead to identifying new antibiotic targets.

As Chien (pronounced Chen) explains, to carry out fundamental life processes such as growing and dividing, cells must orchestrate, in time and location, the production and degradation of hundreds of protein substrates. Even in simple bacteria, protein degradation is critical for making sure these organisms can grow and respond to their environment properly.

Peter Chien

Caulobacter crescentus (above) generates radically different cell types upon division. The ClpXP protease (illustrated below) recognizes and destroys many protein substrates that allow Caulobacter to differentiate into these different cell types. New work identifying scores of new candidate substrates of ClpXP to reveal how protein degradation is critical to cell cycle progression and bacterial development could lead to new antibiotic targets.

Scientists have known that a group of protein machines called energy-dependent proteases are responsible for the majority of this degradation, but what targets these machines recognize and how they do it has been unknown in many cases.

With the new series of experiments in the model bacteria Caulobacter crescentus in the Chien biochemistry and molecular biology laboratory, much more is now understood, he says. “We first generated a protease mutant that could recognize but not destroy its targets, acting as a ‘trap’ for protease substrates. After purifying this trap from living cells, we used mass spectrometry to identify proteins that were caught, finding over a hundred new candidate substrates. These targets covered all aspects of bacterial growth, including DNA replication, transcription and cytoskeletal changes.”

Next, they focused on one of these new targets in detail, a protein called TacA. Caulobacter grow by making two different cell types every time they divide. TacA is responsible for making sure that one of these cell types forms properly.

“We used biochemistry and highly purified proteins to identify what parts of TacA were important for degradation by the ClpXP protease,” Chien says. “We then made mutants of TacA that could not be degraded and found that when we expressed them in bacteria, these cells failed to properly develop into the correct cell types. Because developmental changes are essential for pathogenic bacteria to invade their host, these insights could potentially identify new antibiotic targets.”

The work was funded by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences at the National Institutes of Health and by UMass Amherst.

Peter Chien | Newswise
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Here comes the long-sought-after iron-munching microbe
25.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques
25.10.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

First-time reconstruction of infectious bat influenza viruses

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Novel method to benchmark and improve the performance of protein measumeasurement techniques

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Amazon rain helps make more rain

25.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>