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 Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>