Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Molecular Chaperone Keeps Bacterial Proteins from Slow-Dancing to Destruction

06.01.2010
Just like teenagers at a prom, proteins are tended by chaperones whose job it is to prevent unwanted interactions among immature clients. And at the molecular level, just as at the high school gym level, it's a job that usually requires a lot of energy.

In new research, scientists at the University of Michigan and Howard Hughes Medical Institute have discovered how a protein chaperone called HdeA, which helps protect bacteria like the notorious Escherichia coli from the ravages of stomach acid, saves energy while keeping proteins from forming destructive clumps.

The research is described in a paper published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Proteins in disease-causing bacteria like E. coli unfold when they land in stomach acid after being accidentally ingested by humans and other animals. This unfolding stops the proteins from working and could spell doom for the bacteria if the chaperone HdeA didn't step in. HdeA works by binding very tightly to the unfolded proteins while the bacteria are in the stomach. By attaching to the bacterial proteins, the chaperone stops them from tangling like slow-dancing teens, which could kill the bacteria.

The researchers discovered how HdeA is then able to let go of the unfolded proteins as the bacteria pass into the small intestine so that the proteins refold instead of clumping together.

"HdeA uses a unique timed-release mechanism," said postdoctoral fellow Tim Tapley, who spearheaded the work. "If the proteins were released all at once they would likely clump together, killing the bacteria. What we found instead is that the chaperone HdeA lets go of them gradually, making it more likely that they fold back up into their proper form than clump together."

While most molecular chaperones consume large amounts of cellular energy in order to function, HdeA instead taps energy freely available in its living environment.

"In this way, HdeA is a bit like a wind powered machine, except that instead of harnessing wind, HdeA uses the energy from pH changes in the surrounding environment as the bacteria move from the acid stomach to the slightly alkaline small intestine," said James Bardwell, in whose lab the work was done. Bardwell is a professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology and of biological chemistry, as well as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator.

Tapley and Bardwell were assisted by research specialist Sumita Chakraborty, associate professor Ursula Jakob and Titus Franzmann, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Stefan Walter. The research was funded in part by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

More information:

James Bardwell: http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/public/experts/ExpDisplay.php?ExpID=1016

Proceedings of the National Academy of Science: http://www.pnas.org/

Nancy Ross-Flanigan | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.pnas.org/
http://www.umich.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Complementing conventional antibiotics
24.05.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

When corals eat plastics

24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering

First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR

24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>