Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Newfound hijacked proteins linked to salmonella virulence

24.08.2011
Scientists have discovered that bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella have a sneaky way of making minor alterations to their genes to boost their chances for infection.

It's a fascinating discovery made at Ohio State University, which is featured in the Aug. 14 issue of Nature Chemical Biology. This discovery shows how bacteria make tweaks in their genes, and their proteins to gain strength.

The team includes research scientist Herve Roy, who joined the University of Central Florida faculty at the College of Medicine this month. He co-authored the paper after conducting research in OSU Professor Michael Ibba's lab.

"Mother Nature tinkers a lot," Roy said from his new lab in Orlando. "Our recent findings illustrate that new proteins in living organisms often evolve from older pre-existing ones, and that evolution updates biochemical mechanisms of living cells by tweaking them a little by applying molecular patches."

The precise role of one protein in bacteria, EF-P, remains a mystery, but this team found that it plays an essential role in the virulence of Salmonella enterica typhimurium, a common foodborne pathogen causing diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps, and occasionally lifetime chronic arthritis. Salmonella also accounts for about 400 deaths each year in the United States.

EF-P is known to play a role in protein biosynthesis, which is a keystone mechanism present in all organisms. This process is the chain assembly line that decodes the blue prints stored in the genomes of living organisms, to make all the proteins necessary to sustain life.

The team's research identified a modification born by EF-P that acts as a molecular patch on protein synthesis. The patch seems to increase the bacteria's prowess. Interestingly, the modification on EF-P is made by a hijacked protein, normally involved in the protein synthesis machinery itself.

In the Aug. 14 issue of Nature Chemical Biology, Roy and co-authors identified the chemical nature of the modification that occurs on EF-P. This is critical because in the team's experiments, when the modified version of EF-P is absent, Salmonella doesn't spread.

Because the mechanism by which the modification occurs is unique to bacteria and this system is involved in virulence it could be a potential drug target, Ibba said.

Roy's experience and interest in this area is what drew him to UCF. His lab in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences at UCF will use National Institutes of Health funding to explore how some other components of the protein synthesis machinery have been hijacked to accomplish alternate cellular processes. For instance, one process utilizes parts of the protein synthesis machinery to modify components of the bacterial membrane. This mechanism increases bacterial resistance to a large spectrum of antibiotics and presents a good avenue for new drugs that could potentially alleviate or cure many infectious diseases.

"That's why I came to UCF," Roy said. "There is a good team of scientists here working in infectious diseases. There is a good opportunity to collaborate and make a difference."

Other authors on the Nature paper include S. Betty Zou and William W. Navarre from the University of Toronto and Ibba, Tammy J. Bullwinkle, Marla S. Gilreath Benjamin S. Wolfe and Craig J. Forsyth from Ohio State University.

Roy received a Ph.D. in Structural Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France. He spent the past eight years as a post -doctoral research associate and research scientist at The Ohio State University in the laboratory of Dr. Ibba.

UCF Stands For Opportunity --The University of Central Florida is a metropolitan research university that ranks as the second largest in the nation with more than 56,000 students. UCF's first classes were offered in 1968. The university offers impressive academic and research environments that power the region's economic development. UCF's culture of opportunity is driven by our diversity, Orlando environment, history of entrepreneurship and our youth, relevance and energy. For more information visit http://news.ucf.edu

Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucf.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

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...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

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

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

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

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>