Pathogenic bacteria use small RNA molecules to adapt to their environment. Infection researchers from Würzburg have now pinpointed a protein involved in regulating the activity of these molecules.
Small regulatory RNA molecules are vital for salmonella and other bacteria potentially harmful to humans: This RNA type controls gene activity and allows bacteria to quickly adjust to changing conditions of living and stress as are typical during an infection, for example, when entering the blood stream or inside human cells.
Professor Jörg Vogel, head of the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology of the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria, Germany, is a pioneer in researching small regulatory RNA molecules. He and his team are determined to get to the bottom of how these molecules work and act. His works could also show new ways to fight pathogens.
ProQ binds nearly 100 regulatory RNAs
New findings from Vogel's team have now been published in the journal PNAS: So far, two proteins (Hfg and CsrA) have been known to bind closely to the bacteria's regulatory RNA molecules and influence their activities. Using a new self-designed method, the Würzburg team has now discovered a long-suspected third protein (ProQ) whose function inside the cell has been unknown until recently.
Experiments showed that the ProQ protein binds to 98 regulatory RNAs of the enterobacterial Salmonella enterica. The bacterium has been found to have around 300 such RNAs in total. Moreover, ProQ seems to have specialised in RNA molecules with a rather complex structure.
This protein and the RNA molecules that bind to it represent a largely unresearched class of gene activity regulators in the bacterial "RNA universe". "It will be particularly exciting to find out how ProQ is able to pinpoint the highly structured RNAs among millions of other RNA molecules in a cell," says Jörg Vogel.
PNAS considers results significant
These results have been reported in PNAS by the Würzburg professor together with Alexandre Smirnov, Konrad Förstner, Erik Holmqvist and Regina Günster as well as colleagues from Greifswald and Cologne. Considered highly significant for bacterial research, the new findings are featured in the journal's "Research Highlight" section.
A new technique developed by the JMU team has successfully tracked down the activities of the ProQ protein. "The methods available so far were subject to certain limits with regard to detecting and generally classifying RNA protein interactions which we have overcome here," Professor Vogel further. Since the new method can basically be applied to any other organism, it is expected to provide more progress in researching regulatory RNA.
Smirnov A, Förstner KU, Holmqvist E, Otto A, Günster R, Becher D, Reinhardt R, Vogel J: Grad-seq guides the discovery of ProQ as a major small RNA-binding protein. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA (PNAS), 113 (41): 11591–11596, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1609981113
Prof. Dr. Jörg Vogel, Institute for Molecular Infection Biology, JMU
Phone: +49 931 31-82575, firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Emmerich | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere
How gut bacteria can make us ill
18.01.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Information Technology
18.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation