Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


MBL study shows how good cholesterol (HDLs) provide human immunity to certain parasites


For years biomedical researchers have known that high density lipoproteins, commonly called HDLs or "good cholesterol," are responsible for protecting humans from certain parasites, but couldn’t explain how. Now MBL scientists have discovered that human HDLs work this bug-repelling magic by serving as a platform for the assembly and delivery of two naturally occurring proteins that combine to create a super-toxic antimicrobial.

The research, published in the September 30 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, focuses specifically on human innate immunity to Trypanosoma brucei brucei, the parasite that gives African cattle the deadly disease called Nagana, but which doesn’t harm humans even though scientists believe they are exposed to it. The parasite is a close relative of Trypanosoma brucei gambienese and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, the organisms that cause African sleeping sickness in humans.

The findings that two proteins work synergistically to kill the Nagana parasite in humans contradict a long-held hypothesis that a single protein was the key to HDL’s parasite-fighting power. "The research may be helpful to veterinarians hoping to develop treatments to aid African cattle farmers, who lose three million cattle and around a billion US dollars annually to Nagana," says April Shiflett, a scientist in the MBL’s Global Infectious Diseases Program and an author on the paper. Scientists also hope the research will provide key information to investigators seeking treatments for certain parasitic infections, such as malaria.

To identify the proteins--known as apolipoprotein L-1 (apo L-1) and haptoglobin-related protein (Hpr)--MBL scientists tested different amounts and combinations of the proteins on Trypanosoma brucei brucei specimens. To survive the parasite needs to digest the lipids in HDLs. Because HDL carries these proteins and enables them to combine, it is nature’s perfect delivery system for the antimicrobial. And when test organisms digested the super-toxic protein mix, the single-celled organisms literally dissolved.

Shiflett and her colleagues in the MBL’s Global Infectious Diseases Program are focused on understanding the molecular workings of a variety of parasites, including those that cause human African sleeping sickness, Nagana, and malaria. Such research is crucial to finding creating better treatments, and possibly cures, for diseases that are ravaging the people and economies of places like Africa and other developing countries.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institutes of Health. The complete paper can be found in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Volume 280, Number 38.

Gina Hebert | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht First time-lapse footage of cell activity during limb regeneration
25.10.2016 | eLife

nachricht Phenotype at the push of a button
25.10.2016 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Ice shelf vibrations cause unusual waves in Antarctic atmosphere

25.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

Fluorescent holography: Upending the world of biological imaging

25.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Etching Microstructures with Lasers

25.10.2016 | Process Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>