Gram-negative bacteria such as EHEC enter their prey and deploy syringe-like weapons called type III secretion systems (T3SS) that inject proteins into the epithelial cells to promote reorganization of the the cytoskeleton into pedestals that act as docking stations for the bacteria to adhere to the cells.
Both pedestal and T3SS formation demand rapid activation and precise coordination of a large number of bacterial genes co-opted from a pathogenicity island called the locus of enterocytes effacement (LEE) which Charley Gruber, Vanessa Sperandio and their colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas recently discovered is orchestrated by two sRNAs known as GlmY and GlmZ.
"Our data reveal two previously unknown mechanisms of actions for these sRNAs," Sperandio says. "Working together GlmY and GlmZ cleave the transcript between espJ and espFu genes enabling translation of EspFu, a protein important for efficient mammalian-cell invasion, and also destabilize the LEE 4 and 5 transcripts thus fine tuning LEE gene expression."
"Destabilization of LEE is especially important for two reasons first, it permits the differential expression of various genes encoded within the same cluster and second, it ensures that the bacteria are forming optimal pedestal levels on epithelial cells during infection," according to Sperandio. Thus, these researchers propose that these sRNAs are responsible for the dynamic rewiring of the bacterial complex machineries that enable infection.
"This is a very important contribution to the field particularly because it shows that things are more complicated than they initially appeared," comments Petr G. Leiman at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. "Studies involving sRNA are tricky and require many controls which this paper appears to present in full, thus making the Sperandio team's work very significant."
"The horizontal acquisitions of pathogenicity islands [such as LEE] with their added virulence genes enable bacteria to exploit additional niches and new hosts," explains Sperandio. "Our results suggest that the interplay between ancient and recent evolutionary acquisitions shaped the EHEC we're dealing with today," Gruber adds. However, the evolution is ongoing and as the Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland so famously said, we have to race ahead just to keep up.
mBio® is an open access online journal published by the American Society for Microbiology to make microbiology research broadly accessible. The focus of the journal is on rapid publication of cutting-edge research spanning the entire spectrum of microbiology and related fields. It can be found online at http://mbio.asm.org.
The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 39,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to advance the microbiological sciences as a vehicle for understanding life processes and to apply and communicate this knowledge for the improvement of health and environmental and economic well-being worldwide.
Jim Sliwa | EurekAlert!
Pathogenic bacteria hitchhiking to North and Baltic Seas?
22.07.2016 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
Unconventional quasiparticles predicted in conventional crystals
22.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe
Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.
Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...
Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases
Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...
Scaffolding and specialised workers help with the delivery – Heidelberg biochemists gain new insights into biogenesis
A type of scaffolding on which specialised workers ply their trade helps in the manufacturing process of the two subunits from which the ribosome – the protein...
Scientists at the Helmholtz Zentrum München have developed a new mass spectrometry imaging method which, for the first time, makes it possible to analyze hundreds of metabolites in fixed tissue samples. Their findings, published in the journal Nature Protocols, explain the new access to metabolic information, which will offer previously unexploited potential for tissue-based research and molecular diagnostics.
In biomedical research, working with tissue samples is indispensable because it permits insights into the biological reality of patients, for example, in...
Chemists at the University of Basel have succeeded in using computer simulations to elucidate transient structures in proteins. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, the researchers set out how computer simulations of details at the atomic level can be used to understand proteins’ modes of action.
Using computational chemistry, it is possible to characterize the motion of individual atoms of a molecule. Today, the latest simulation techniques allow...
15.07.2016 | Event News
15.07.2016 | Event News
11.07.2016 | Event News
22.07.2016 | Information Technology
22.07.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
22.07.2016 | Life Sciences