Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gene regulation: Can we stomach it?

23.02.2010
Max Planck scientists succeed with a novel technique in the fight against the cause of peptic ulcer disease and gastric cancer

A breakthrough in decoding gene regulation of Helicobacter pylori has been made by an international research team led by Jörg Vogel of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. Using a newly developed sequencing technique, the re-searchers discovered 60 small ribonucleic acids (sRNAs) - tiny RNA-particles which can regulate genes - in the genome of this human pathogen. These findings could facilitate the development of new therapeutic strategies against this wide-spread pathogen. (Nature, February 17th 2010)


Helicobacter pylori (blue) with cells of the intestinal epithelium (orange). Image: Brinkmann

About 50 percent of the world’s population carry Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) in their gastrointestinal tract - 30 percent of the German population are infected. Besides cancer, these bacteria are linked to other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease. The decoding of the H. pylori genome in 1997 revealed this pathogen to possess surprisingly few genes for transcriptional regulators, sparking a number of crucial questions: Where do the genes of Helicobacter start, and how are these switched on and off? Have all genes been discovered already?

Researchers have been searching for new types of gene regulators in this pathogen, especially for sRNAs. It has recently been realized that these tiny RNA particles are far more abundant in all organisms than previously thought. They can regulate genes by binding to sequences of the genetic information, thereby inhibiting the production of a protein. Yet strangely enough, sRNAs seemed to be lacking in Helicobacter. Jörg Vogel, leader of the RNA Biology Group at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, and his team have finally tracked down a number of sRNAs in the pathogen. To enable their discovery, they modified a technique called "deep sequencing", to decipher millions of RNA-sequences newly produced in a cell. The surprised scientists found 60 sRNAs: "To date, it was believed that this organism completely lacks sRNAs", says Vogel.

A new model for gene regulation?

"We found as many sRNAs in Helicobacter as in widespread intestinal bacteria like Escherichia coli or Salmonella", explains Vogel. But a very important protein required for the regulation of gene expression by sRNAs is missing in Helicobacter pylori. The stomach pathogen possibly uses different signalling pathways, which makes it a possible candidate as a model in RNA-research. "We hope to get completely new insights into gene regulation", says Vogel.

Thanks to the novel technique, the researchers could also define the starting point of every gene in Helicobacter. "It enables us to interpret the genome in a completely new way", explains Vogel. This success, achieved in collaboration with scientists from Leipzig (Germany) and Bordeaux (France), could facilitate the development of a vaccine against the pathogen. Vogel’s team will now apply the new sequencing technique to other food-borne pathogens. Interesting candidates are Campylobacter jejuni, which besides Salmonella is the most frequent cause for infectious diarrhoea.

Original work:

Cynthia M. Sharma, Steve Hoffmann, Fabien Darfeuille, Jérémy Reignier, Sven Findeiß, Alexandra Sittka, Sandrine Chabas, Kristin Reiche, Jörg Hackermüller, Richard Reinhardt, Peter F. Stadler & Jörg Vogel
The primary transcriptome of the major human pathogen Helicobacter pylori
Nature, Februar 17th 2010 online publication (doi: 10.1038/nature08756)
Contact:
Prof. Jörg Vogel
Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 28460-265 / +49 (0)160 / 700-6532
E-mail: vogel@mpiib-berlin.mpg.de
Gesa Krey
Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 28460-206
E-mail: Gesa.Krey@mpiib-berlin.mpg.de

Barbara Abrell | Max Planck Society
Further information:
http://www.mpg.de/english/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

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

Midwife and signpost for photons

11.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How do megacities impact coastal seas? Searching for evidence in Chinese marginal seas

11.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

PhoxTroT: Optical Interconnect Technologies Revolutionized Data Centers and HPC Systems

11.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>