Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method for infectious diseases research developed at Umeå University

03.03.2011
Infectious diseases researchers at Umeå University in Sweden are studying the surface properties of bacteria together with materials scientists.

Studies of the outermost parts of the cell walls of bacteria yield new information about the chemical composition of structures that are important for the capacity of bacteria to infect organisms. The findings are now being reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

When bacteria infect a host organism, they usually attach to tissue cells. Infectious diseases scientists at Umeå University are studying structural details of the outermost layer of bacterial cells in order to find new substances that can prevent bacterial infections. In collaboration with materials researchers at the Department of Chemistry, they describe new methods that facilitate and speed up their studies.

Chemist Madeleine Ramstedt is pursuing research on a material with new properties that prevent bacteria from attaching to its surface. The new material would be optimal for equipment in health care, where biofilms of bacteria can be a source of infection. In her research, Madeleine Ramstedt uses spectroscopic methods, among others, that she is now making available to her colleagues in the research consortium Umeå Centre for Microbial Research, UCMR.

Microbiologists Sun Nyunt Wai, Ryoma Nakao, and Bernt Eric Uhlin, together with chemists Jean-François Boily and Madeleine Ramstedt, were investigating whether new physiochemical analysis methods could also be used for microbial studies. The scientists combined so-called cryo-x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy with multivariate analysis. This analysis yields specific patterns of intensity curves depending on the chemical composition of the surface of the material being studied.

“We’ve succeeded also in analyzing the cell surfaces of bacteria with our x-ray spectroscopy. We found strong patterns that we could clearly relate to different compositions in lipids, sugar, protein, and the polymer peptidoglycan in the cell wall of the bacterium that can affect the capacity of a bacterium to infect an organism,” explains Madeleine Ramstedt.

“The method makes it possible to analyze the outermost layer, about 10 nanometers from the surface.”

“Our method is relatively simple in comparison with other methods in which the extraction of various cell components is needed. This means that with our method the surface of the bacteria can be examined under more natural conditions in an intact bacterial cell.”

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy has previously been used to study bacteria, but only to a limited extent. The Umeå scientists have managed to optimize the method.

“We shock freeze the bacteria and keep them frozen throughout the analysis. This allows us to assume that they do not change during the examination. Now it’s possible to compare the cell walls in similar bacteria that have been treated in different ways or that have changed, for example by developing resistance. With our method we can now compare structures in cell walls in pathogenic bacteria with those of non-pathogenic bacteria, all on a larger scale. Hopefully this new method of analysis will yield more rapid results and provide infectious diseases researchers with new clues for finding new antibiotics,” says Madeleine Ramstedt.

UCMR is one of Umeå University’s strong research environments. The centre is an interdisciplinary research consortium that brings together a number of research teams in microbial research with participation from chemistry, medical and clinical microbiology, molecular biology, physics, and bioinformatics.

Contact: Dr. Madeleine Ramstedt, Department of Chemistry, Umeå University
Tel: +46 (0)90- 7866328; e-mail: madeleine.ramstedt@chem.umu.se
Original publication:
Madeleine Ramstedt, Ryoma Nakao, Sun Nyunt Wai, Bernt Eric Uhlin, Jean-François Boily: Monitoring surface chemical changes in the bacterial cell wall – multivariate analysis of cryo-x-ray photoelectronspectroscopy data. The Journal of Biological Chemistry (On-line 17 February 2011).

Karin Wikman | idw
Further information:
http://www.vr.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections
25.09.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>