Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Cholera discovery could revolutionize antibiotic delivery

Three Simon Fraser University scientists are among six researchers who’ve made a discovery that could help revolutionize antibiotic treatment of deadly bacteria.

Lisa Craig, Christopher Ford and Subramaniapillai Kolappan, SFU researchers in molecular biology and biochemistry, have explained how Vibrio cholerae became a deadly pathogen thousands of years ago.

V. cholerae causes the diarrheal disease cholera, which is endemic in many developing countries and can emerge in regions devastated by war and natural disasters. An outbreak following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti has killed at least 7,500 people.

Two genes within V. cholerae’s genome make it toxic and deadly. The bacterium acquired these genes when a bacterial virus or bacteriophage called CTX-phi infected it.

The SFU researchers and their colleagues at the University of Oslo and Harvard Medical School propose that a Trojan horse-like mechanism within V. cholerae enabled CTX-phi to invade it.

The CTX-phi latches onto a long, hair-like pilus filament floating on the surface of V. cholerae. The filament then retracts, pulling the toxin-gene-carrying CTX-phi inside the bacterium where it binds to TolA, a protein in the bacterial wall.

The process transforms V. cholerae into a deadly human pathogen.

The Journal of Biological Chemistry has just published a paper written by the researchers describing the atomic structures of the CTX-phi protein pIII alone and bound to V. cholera TolA.

The authors recommend that pilus filaments be explored further as a transport mechanism to deliver antibiotics into a bacterium.

“We’d be exploiting the pilus retraction mechanism to introduce antibiotics directly into a cell, bypassing its outer membrane barrier,” explains Craig. The SFU associate professor is an expert on the role that pili play in bacterial infections.

“We do have antibiotics for V. cholerae, but these antibiotics also kill beneficial bacteria in the gut. The idea of using pili as a Trojan horse for antibiotic delivery is new and allows us to specifically and effectively target a given bacterial pathogen.”

Craig says her team’s discovery of V. cholerae’s retractable pili is made all the more exciting by the simplicity of its workings. “We know that other deadly bacteria have retractable pili but it’ll be much easier to isolate how the mechanism can be used to uptake antibiotics in Vibrio cholerae.”

Craig says using pili as an antibiotic delivery mechanism to treat Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a deadly bacterial respiratory infection that hits mainly people with Cystic Fibrosis, could save many lives.

Christopher Ford is a research associate in Craig’s lab. Subramaniapillai Kolappan, one of Craig’s master’s students, recently graduated from SFU.

Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.

Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

Carol Thorbes | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders
24.10.2016 | Baylor College of Medicine

nachricht New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground
24.10.2016 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

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

New method increases energy density in lithium batteries

24.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

International team discovers novel Alzheimer's disease risk gene among Icelanders

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

New bacteria groups, and stunning diversity, discovered underground

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>