Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Going against the flow – Targeting bacterial motility to combat disease

18.11.2014

The ability to move enables many bacteria to reach a specific niche or to leave hostile environments. The bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a poultry pathogen that is capable of gliding over solid surfaces.

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have now identified the proteins responsible for this gliding mechanism. Interrupting the gliding mechanism could be a way to make the bacteria less virulent, but it could also help in the development of vaccines against the pathogen. The results were published in the journal Veterinary Research.


Mycoplasma gallisepticum on epithelial cells of a chicken trachea.

Photo: Michael Szostak / Vetmeduni Vienna

Mycoplasma gallisepticum causes chronic respiratory disease in birds. The illness particularly affects domestic chicken and turkey flocks. The bacteria are especially life-threatening for the animals when they occur in combination with other infections. In order to control the spread of the disease, poultry farms in the EU must be proven free from Mycoplasma gallisepticum or face being closed.

Mycoplasma gallisepticum is related to the human pathogen Mycoplasma pneumoniae, the causative agent of human bronchitis and pneumonia. Mycoplasmas are among the world’s smallest microorganisms. Scientists even speak of degenerative bacteria. Over the course of evolution, mycoplasmas have thrown most of their genetic material over board, resulting in one of the smallest bacterial genomes. This is what makes them such efficiently adapted pathogens in humans and animals.

At least three proteins responsible for the gliding mechanism

The gliding motility of M. gallisepticum was first observed in the 1960s. However, it has so far been unclear how exactly the gliding mechanism works and which proteins make gliding possible. First author Ivana Indikova and study director Michael Szostak of the Institute of Microbiology at the Vetmeduni Vienna have now found that gliding requires the proteins GapA, CrmA and Mgc2. “If the bacteria are missing one of these three proteins, they are no longer able to move. We want to know if non-motile mycoplasmas are less infectious. If that were the case, we could target the motility genes to turn them off and so render the bacteria harmless,” Szostak explains.

Gliding motility could even contribute to the ability of mycoplasmas to invade and traverse body cells. This could allow them to safely evade the body’s immune system and the infection could spread efficiently through the host body.

The experts can also imagine the development of a vaccine. “Non-motile and non-pathogenic bacteria could form the basis for a new vaccine which the immune system could recognize and fight without causing any illness in the organism,” explains Szostak.

Do gliding mycoplasmas go against the flow?

The ability to move thus gives the pathogens certain advantages. It remains unknown, however, which stimuli M. gallisepticum responds to when gliding. Szostak suspects: “Most mycoplasmas cannot glide. Gliding species have so far been found only in the respiratory and genital tracts – places in which there is a directional mucus flow. We believe that the gliding bacteria possibly move against this flow in order to reach deeper-lying regions of the body. We are currently planning further experiments to attempt to answer this question.”

Service:

The article „First identification of proteins involved in motility of Mycoplasma gallisepticum”, by Ivana Indikova, Martin Vronka and Michael P. Szostak was published in the journal Veterinary Research. DOI: 10.1186/s13567-014-0099-2 http://www.veterinaryresearch.org/content/45/1/99

About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,300 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at

Scientific Contact:
Dr. Michael Szostak
Institute of Microbiology
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 20577-2104
michael.szostak@vetmeduni.ac.at

Released by:
Susanna Kautschitsch
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153
susanna.kautschitsch@vetmeduni.ac.at


Weitere Informationen:

http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/en/infoservice/presseinformation/press-releases-2014/going-against-the-flow-targeting-bacterial-motility-to-combat-disease/

Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Medicine Mycoplasma Veterinary Vetmeduni ability bacteria gliding illness immune immune system motility proteins spread

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Lipid nanodiscs stabilize misfolding protein intermediates red-handed
18.12.2017 | Technische Universität München

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

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

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...

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

Single-photon detector can count to 4

18.12.2017 | Information Technology

Quantum memory with record-breaking capacity based on laser-cooled atoms

18.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

How much soil goes down the drain -- New data on soil lost due to water

18.12.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>