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
Tissue-engineered colon from human cells develop different types of neurons
02.10.2015 | Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Big eyes! – MDC Researchers Identify Cause of Inherited Form of Extreme Nearsightedness
02.10.2015 | Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin in der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft
The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will present how laser-based technologies can contribute to the laboratory of the future at the LABVOLUTION in Hannover in Hall 9, Stand E67/09, from October 6th to 8th, 2015. As a part of the model lab smartLAB, the LZH is showing how additive manufacturing, better known as 3-D printing, can make experimental setups more flexible.
Twelve partners from science and industry are presenting an intelligent and innovative model lab at the special display smartLAB. A part of this intelligent...
Before embarking on a transcontinental journey, jet airplanes fill up with tens of thousands of gallons of fuel. In the event of a crash, such large quantities of fuel increase the severity of an explosion upon impact.
Researchers at Caltech and JPL have discovered a polymeric fuel additive that can reduce the intensity of postimpact explosions that occur during accidents and...
When surgical residents need to practice a complicated procedure to fashion a new ear for children without one, they typically get a bar of soap, carrot or an apple.
To treat children with a missing or under-developed ear, experienced surgeons harvest pieces of rib cartilage from the child and carve them into the framework...
Walking an obstacle course on Earth is relatively easy. Walking an obstacle course on Earth after being in space for six months is not quite as simple. The...
01.10.2015 | Event News
30.09.2015 | Event News
17.09.2015 | Event News
02.10.2015 | Medical Engineering
02.10.2015 | Materials Sciences
02.10.2015 | Trade Fair News