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 New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources
29.05.2017 | DGIST (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology)

nachricht Copper hydroxide nanoparticles provide protection against toxic oxygen radicals in cigarette smoke
29.05.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New drug reduces transplant and mortality rates significantly in patients with hepatitis C

29.05.2017 | Statistics

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>