Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Key pathological mechanism found in plague bacterium

05.12.2012
A more than 50-year-old question has now been answered. Chemists and microbiologists at the Biological Chemistry Center at Umeå University in Sweden are now able to describe in detail the role of calcium in the ability of the plague bacterium Yersinias to cause disease.
In the 14th century, the Black Death claimed the lives of one third of the population of Europe. Even though the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which causes the disease, is regarded as eradicated in Europe, the World Health Organization is still reporting epidemics in Africa, Asia, and America. Bacteria in the Yersinia family can also lead to severe gastrointestinal diseases and diarrheas.

A key question that originated in research done in the 1950s is how calcium can play a critical role in the ability of Yersinia to cause disease. This long-lived issue has now been resolved by an interdisciplinary research team at Umeå University who are revealing the molecular mechanism underlying the importance of calcium.

“It was previously known that calcium inhibits an important step during the infection process. We have now identified a specific protein called YscU, which binds calcium, and we believe that this is an important part of the calcium effect,” says Hans Wolf-Watz, a senior professor at the Department of Molecular Biology.

Together with Magnus Wolf-Watz, an assistant professor at the Department of Chemistry, he has shown that the breakdown of the protein YscU is a necessary step in the infection process.

“With NMR experiments, we have been able, on the one hand, to study the details surrounding this degradation and, on the other hand, to identify which part of YscU binds to calcium,” says Magnus Wolf-Watz.

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy is a method used by researchers to determine the structure and composition of molecules. At the joint NMR Center at the Biological Chemistry Center, a new high-field 850 MHz instrument was inaugurated a week ago.

“This new instrument will provide opportunities for exciting new discoveries in our research field and in other fields, and the resource is available to scientists at other Swedish higher-education institutions,” says Magnus Wolf-Watz.

The research findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE.
For more information please contact:

Magnus Wolf-Watz, assistant professor, Department of Chemistry, Biological Chemistry Center, Umeå University, E-mail: Magnus.wolf-watz@chem.umu.se
Phone: +46 (0)90-786 76 90

Hans Wolf-Watz, professor, Department of Molecular Biology and the Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden, MIMS, Umeå University
E-mail: hans.wolf-watz@molbiol.umu.se, Phone: +46 (0)90 785 25 30
Original publication:

Stefan Frost, Oanh Ho, Frédéric H. Login, Christoph F. Weise, Hans Wolf-Watz & Magnus Wolf-Watz (2012) ”Autoproteolysis and Intramolecular dissociation of Yersinia YscU precedes secretion of its C-terminal polypeptide YscUCC”, PLOS ONE, The Public Library of Science ONE

Ingrid Söderbergh | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se
http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0049349

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

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...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

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...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

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...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>