A tiny nanoscale syringe is Salmonella’s weapon. Using this, the pathogen injects its molecular agents into the host cells and manipulates them to its own advantage.
A team of scientists at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel demonstrate in their current publication in Cell Reports that a much investigated protein, which plays a role in Salmonella metabolism, is required to activate these needles and makes the replication and spread of Salmonella throughout the whole body possible.
The summer months are the prime time for Salmonella infections. Such an infection is caused by the ingestion of contaminated food, for instance ice cream or raw eggs, and can cause severe diarrhea. Salmonella can even cause life-threatening illnesses such as typhoid fever.
For several years, Prof. Dirk Bumann, from the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, has been studying the infection mechanisms of Salmonella. Together with his team, he has discovered that the bacterial protein EIIAGlc is not only responsible for the uptake of nutrients, which was previously known, but also plays a central role in Salmonella colonizing the host organism.
New function discovered for well known protein
Salmonella possesses a sophisticated injection apparatus, the type III secretion system. With this molecular syringe, it injects toxins directly into the host cells. These toxins manipulate host cell processes to create optimal growth conditions for the bacteria in hiding. Unforeseen, Bumann and his team uncovered an important teammate in the infection process, the protein EIIAGlc. The protein was already known for its many functions in bacterial metabolism, such as in the uptake of sugars molecules.
The researchers’ attention was attracted by the fact that when EIIAGlc is defective Salmonella completely loses its capacity for intracellular replication and to spread throughout the organism. Further investigations finally brought the scientists from Basel onto the right track. The protein EIIAGlc docks onto the injection apparatus in the bacterium, stabilizes it and finally activates the release of the toxins. “We can clearly demonstrate that the activation of the secretion system is the main function of the protein EIIAGlc, while the many other described metabolic functions play a minor role in the occurrence of illness”, says Bumann bringing his findings to the point.
Target molecule for antibiotic treatment
It is estimated that each year about 16 million people worldwide contract a life-threatening Salmonella infection that affects the whole organism. The spread of the bacteria in the host is highly dependent on the functional capacity of the injection system. “In EIIAGlc, we have found a new potential therapeutic target”, says Bumann. By inhibiting the protein, one could strategically put the infection apparatus out of action. As this injection needle is primarily found in pathogens, infections could be
Alain Mazé, Timo Glatter, Dirk Bumann
The central metabolism regulator EIIAGlc switches Salmonella from growth arrest to acute virulence through activation of virulence factor secretion
Cell Reports, published online 15 May 2014
Prof. Dr. Dirk Bumann, University of Basel, Biozentrum, phone: +41 61 267 23 82, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Katrin Bühler | Universität Basel
Novel 'repair system' discovered in algae may yield new tools for biotechnology
29.07.2016 | Boyce Thompson Institute
Molecular troublemakers instead of antibiotics?
29.07.2016 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Transparent electronics devices are present in today’s thin film displays, solar cells, and touchscreens. The future will bring flexible versions of such devices. Their production requires printable materials that are transparent and remain highly conductive even when deformed. Researchers at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have combined a new self-assembling nano ink with an imprint process to create flexible conductive grids with a resolution below one micrometer.
To print the grids, an ink of gold nanowires is applied to a substrate. A structured stamp is pressed on the substrate and forces the ink into a pattern. “The...
A new Fraunhofer MEVIS method conveys medical interrelationships quickly and intuitively with innovative visualization technology
On the monitor, a brain spins slowly and can be examined from every angle. Suddenly, some sections start glowing, first on the side and then the entire back of...
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.
While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.
Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.
Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...
Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases
Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...
29.07.2016 | Event News
15.07.2016 | Event News
15.07.2016 | Event News
29.07.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
29.07.2016 | Life Sciences
29.07.2016 | Event News