Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

News from the pathogen that causes sleeping sickness

22.06.2017

A team of researchers from the University of Würzburg has discovered an interesting enzyme in the pathogens responsible for African sleeping sickness: It could be a promising target for drugs.

The life-threatening African trypanosomiasis, also called sleeping sickness, is caused by protozoa of the species Trypanosoma brucei. A team at the Biocentre of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany, studies the pathogens and has now reported exciting news: The trypanosomes have a so far unknown enzyme which does not exist in humans and other vertebrates. This makes it a promising target for therapy.


Trypanosomes are worm-like parasites which cause sleeping sickness.

(Picture: Tim Krüger und Markus Engstler)

Dr. Susanne Kramer and her team published the new findings in the journal PLOS Pathogens. "The enzyme is called TbALPH1," the researcher details. "It triggers the degradation of messenger RNA and is totally different from the enzymes responsible for this process in higher organisms."

The JMU researcher counts the Trypanosoma enzyme among the class of ApaH-like phosphatases which are of bacterial origin. Although this class of enzymes does not exist in vertebrates, it is found in other groups of animals. "We don't know yet which function the enzymes have there. So we want to study next whether ApaH-like phosphatases from other organisms are equally involved in degrading the messenger RNA," Kramer says.

Facts about sleeping sickness

Trypanosomes are wide-spread in sub-Saharan Africa. The worm-like parasites are transmitted by the bite of an infected tsetse fly. Each year, there are 30,000 new infections. Initial symptoms include headaches and joint pains followed by confusion, seizures and other symptoms in later stages. Finally, the sufferers fall into coma and die.

There are no vaccines available against the pathogens; the available drugs can have extreme side effects. So there is urgent demand for better medication to treat the disease. Trypanosomes not only infect humans. They also kill cattle, goats and other livestock thereby causing additional damage: In some regions of Africa, breeding livestock is hardly possible due to the trypanosomes.

The ApaH-like phosphatase TbALPH1 is the major mRNA decapping enzyme of trypanosomes, PLOS Pathogens, 19. June 2017, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006456

Contact

Dr. Susanne Kramer, Department of Zoology I – Cell and Developmental Biology, Biocentre, University of Würzburg, T + 49 931-86785, susanne.kramer@uni-wuerzburg.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.zeb.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de/en/people/susanne_kramer/ Website of Susanne Kramer
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1006456 The publication in PLOS Pathogens

Robert Emmerich | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond
21.11.2017 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht The main switch
21.11.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>