Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery increases understanding how bacteria spread: U of A study

21.06.2012
A University of Alberta researcher is moving closer to understanding how infection is caused by the spread of bacteria.
In a study published in the high-impact Cell Press journal called Structure, Joel Weiner and his collaborators, Gerd Prehna and Natalie Stynadka at the University of British Columbia, share new knowledge about how bacteria release proteins.

Proteins are complex molecules that perform all sorts of functions in the cells of living things. The group studied a specific protein called YebF in E. coli bacteria. It is widely found in other bacteria as well.

Solving the structure and understanding the mechanism by which this protein spreads bacterial pathogens was a big step forward. As humans develop more resistance to antibiotics, researchers are in search of new ways to stop bacteria from spreading.

"Most pathogenic bacteria induce special structures in order to release proteins that allow them to infect a host," said Weiner of the Department of Biochemistry, whose lab is funded by the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "What we show here is that normal, run-of-the-mill bacteria can actually release a protein through the pores [of the bacterial membrane] which are normally there to take in small molecules."

YebF proved to be an interesting protein molecule because in addition to its release through the bacterial pore, which is the most recent discovery, it has the unique property of secreting "passenger proteins" that are attached to it. This unique property was a prior discovery patented by the U of A because it has potential use for the production of protein-based drugs by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

"What we found in the structure is that there are regions that are very flexible in YebF that seem to be very important in getting it out of the bacteria," said Weiner. "If you make mutants in those regions you can prevent the protein from going out.

"We're not investing enough in identifying new targets for antibiotics," he said. "What this system does suggests a new target. We're looking at drugs that could block the ability of YebF to go out.

"That's really easy to test for," he added. Because the screen is easy, it's good for pharmaceutical companies."

This step in the research took several years, because solving the structure of this protein wasn't easy. The lab typically uses crystallization but stubborn YebF wouldn't work, so instead they had to use nuclear magnetic resonance.

Typically researchers know what action takes place and they try to find the protein that triggers it. In this case the researchers have been working the opposite direction. They have the protein, YebF, but they need to find out its purpose in the cell.

Quinn Phillips | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Single-stranded DNA and RNA origami go live
15.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists
15.12.2017 | Louisiana State University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>