Some pathogenic bacteria have a complex injection device made of many proteins. This molecular syringe has to be attached across two membranes so that proteins can be passed from the bacterial cells into human cells.
Until now, scientists thought that the position of a key lipoprotein component of the syringe was determined by one or two specific amino acids as is true for all other bacterial lipoproteins. But research led by Dr Gregory Plano at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine suggests that location is not always determined by these previously identified sorting signals.
“The YscJ lipoprotein in Yersinia pestis is an essential part of the injection device,” says Dr Plano. “It serves as a platform for the syringe to be built on and it is a major component of the structure that links the two bacterial cell membranes together. The sequence of YscJ suggests that it should be attached to the outer membrane, but it is actually attached to the inner membrane of the bacterial cell.” Instead of being controlled by a few key amino acids, the location of the YscJ lipoprotein is determined by the presence of a specific section of the protein.
Injection devices help pathogenic bacteria to survive in our bodies by injecting proteins that stop our immune cells from communicating and launching an attack. Some bacteria that are beneficial to plants and animals also use these devices to evade their hosts’ immune systems.
Understanding this mechanism tells us more about how Yersinia pestis causes plague. “We now want to find out why the YscJ protein uses this unusual mechanism instead of the traditional method used by other lipoproteins,” says Dr Plano.
Lucy Goodchild | alfa
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy