Little microbe inside sea squirt makes big splash
Bacterial genome sheds light on synthesizing cancer-fighting compounds
Sea squirts around the world are breathing a sigh of relief, as they no longer run the risk of being harvested for their natural disease-fighting substances. Scientists recently discovered that the bacterium Prochloron didemnii, which lives symbiotically inside the sea squirt, actually produces the desired patellamides, compounds that may one day be used in cancer treatment.
Despite decades of attempts, scientists could not successfully cultivate Prochloron in the laboratory once the bacterium was isolated from the sea squirt. Because samples of Prochloron were easily contaminated with remnants of life inside its animal home, scientists couldnt tell if the bacterium or the sea squirt produced the sought-after patellamides, until now.
By searching for patellamide synthesis instructions in genomic sequences, scientists found the bacterium indeed has the necessary genes to produce these potentially important biochemicals, solving the source mystery. Knowing which genes Prochloron used for patellamide production also allowed researchers to synthesize the potentially important compounds in the lab using a so-called laboratory workhorse, the bacterium E. coli.
Scientists from The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR), the University of Utah and the University of California, San Diego, report findings in this weeks online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"This project revealed detailed information about the metabolic capabilities of Prochloron, details that proved to be difficult to determine by other means, " said Patrick Dennis, manager for Prochloron genome sequencing at the National Science Foundation, which funded the study. "Furthermore, " he added, "by producing patellamides in the lab, the team demonstrated an important proof of principle for the biosynthesis of naturally occurring marine products."
Randy Vines | EurekAlert!
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host
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...