The bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis is a successful organism that lives in an estimated one third of the world’s population. But only about five percent of those infected develop the disease.
“We also know that many people do not become infected despite exposure to the infection. This is a question we are looking for an answer to,” says Amanda Welin, who is now presenting her doctoral dissertation in medical microbiology.
The research group has studied phenomena in both the bacterium and the macrophage, whose task is to knock out infectious substances that get into the body.
One weapon is enzymes, which make the ingested bacteria feel sickly. Enzymes work best in acidic environments, with a pH level under 6. For their part, the bacteria can strike back by releasing substances that prevent the pH level from going down. Amanda Welin has shown that this warfare is directly reflected in the growth or reduction of bacteria.
These bacteria also have a capacity to kill macrophages and spread to new cells. Welin shows that this is done by having a tiny protein cause cell death, necrosis, which in turn leads to inflammation of the tissue.
To carry out these studies, Amanda Welin and her colleagues developed a new method for determining the number of bacteria inside a cell. They use a gene from sea-fire organisms, which cause strange lights in seawater at night. When this gene is added to the genes of the bacterium, the bacterium begins to produce the same luminescent substance, luciferase, as the sea-fire organism does. Thanks to this, it’s possible to monitor developments inside the macrophage – the intensity of the light radiating outward corresponds to the number of bacteria inside. If their number grows, this indicates that they have begun to multiply inside the human cell.
The method can be used to search for plausible drug candidates. In that field, the Linköping scientists are collaborating with a group of colleagues in Sudan, who are testing, among other things, various medicinal plants with substances that could possibly be used as active ingredients to combat tuberculosis.
The dissertation Survival strategies of Mycobacterium tuberculosis inside the human macrophage is published by LiU Electronic Press, It was publicly defended at Linköping University on March 4, 2011.
Contact:Amanda Welin: mobile phone: +46 (0)705-464749, firstname.lastname@example.org
Anika Agebjörn | idw
The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Life Sciences