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!
Gene switch may repair DNA and prevent cancer
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New method opens crystal clear views of biomolecules
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Today, plants and microorganisms are heavily used for the production of medicinal products. The production of biopharmaceuticals in plants, also referred to as “Molecular Pharming”, represents a continuously growing field of plant biotechnology. Preferred host organisms include yeast and crop plants, such as maize and potato – plants with high demands. With the help of a special algal strain, the research team of Prof. Ralph Bock at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam strives to develop a more efficient and resource-saving system for the production of medicines and vaccines. They tested its practicality by synthesizing a component of a potential AIDS vaccine.
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Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock which attains an accuracy which had only been predicted theoretically so far. Their optical ytterbium clock achieved a relative systematic measurement uncertainty of 3 E-18. The results have been published in the current issue of the scientific journal "Physical Review Letters".
Atomic clock experts from the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) are the first research group in the world to have built an optical single-ion clock...
The University of Würzburg has two new space projects in the pipeline which are concerned with the observation of planets and autonomous fault correction aboard satellites. The German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy funds the projects with around 1.6 million euros.
Detecting tornadoes that sweep across Mars. Discovering meteors that fall to Earth. Investigating strange lightning that flashes from Earth's atmosphere into...
Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
Exceeding critical temperature limits in the Southern Ocean may cause the collapse of ice sheets and a sharp rise in sea levels
A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West...
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