Entamoeba histolytica, which causes inflammation of the colon (colitis), plays dirty. It attacks and kills human immune cells in seconds. Then the parasite hides the evidence by eating the cells’ corpses. While doing so, it kills nearly 100,000 people each year.
The research team, led by Dr. William Petri, hypothesized that identifying molecules involved in the corpse ingestion might provide insight into how the amebae cause colitis in children.
The team identified a particular protein on the surface of the ameba called a kinase, PATMK. Using a special technique called RNA interference to inhibit the actions of this kinase, they prevented the ameba from eating dead cells.
“By blocking this kinase, we have for the first time prevented the ameba from colonizing and invading the gut,” said Dr. Petri. “This means that we are a step closer to preventing this disease, which wreaks havoc among children worldwide.”
“Infection and further invasion into the gut require the clearance of dead cells in order to prevent immune recognition of the damaged tissue,” says fellow researcher Douglas Boettner. “PATMK is the first individual member of a large family of proteins to be assigned a function related to the clearance of dying tissue during pathogenesis.”
This protein may be a pivotal vaccination target because these preliminary studies show that alterations in PATMK function reduces progression of amoebiasis in mice, Boettner added. “A vaccine that ultimately would prevent this amoeba from clearing the damaged host may attract helpful immune cells which may recognize and eliminate this infection.”
On a global basis, amebiasis affects approximately 50 million people each year, causing diarrhea, malnutrition and nearly 100,000 deaths.
This work shows how infection is dependent upon the ameba’s consumption of dead cells. By identifying the molecule that controls eating, scientists are one step closer to the ultimate goal of preventing disease caused by this parasite.
Andrew Hyde | alfa
Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”
05.12.2016 | Universität Basel
The Nagoya Protocol Creates Disadvantages for Many Countries when Applied to Microorganisms
05.12.2016 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering