Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Anthrax: pre-publication and special issue

25.10.2001


Recent events have confirmed that bioterrorism is no longer a threat but a reality. To provide wide-ranging access to the latest scientific information about anthrax and other potential bioweapons, Nature has put together a special online focus on this issue. This focus includes the pre-publication* of two research papers on anthrax toxin, as well as a collection of research, news and feature articles from our electronic archive. Because of the heightened interest in this area, among both the scientific community and the general public, all material in this feature has been made freely available.

The causative agent of the anthrax disease, the bacterium Bacillus anthracis, secretes a toxin made up of three proteins: protective antigen (PA), oedema factor (OF) and lethal factor (LF). PA binds to cell-surface receptors on the host’s cell membranes. After being cleaved by a protease, PA binds to the two toxic enzymes, OF and LA, and mediates their transportation into the cytosol where they exert their pathogenic effects.

In the first of our pre-published papers, Bradley et al. report the cloning of the human PA receptor using a genetic complementation approach. The receptor, named anthrax toxin receptor, is a type I membrane protein with an extracellular Von Willebrand factor A domain that binds directly to PA. In the other paper, Pannifer et al. describe the crystal structure of lethal factor — the crucial pathogenic enzyme of anthrax toxin — which cleaves members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MAPKK) family and disrupts cellular signalling. As both PA and LF are possible targets for therapeutic agents, these papers provide valuable information to researchers working towards better treatments for anthrax.



In addition to these Nature papers, this special focus also includes research from October’s issue of Nature Biotechnology. Mourez et al. describe the isolation of a synthetic peptide that blocks the action of anthrax toxin in an animal model. These research papers are complimented by a news feature which looks at the threat of bioterrorism and researchers’ attempts to counter it, and a collection of research, news and opinion articles from our archive. Our final featured article is a timely ’Advanced Online Publication’ from Nature Genetics. Claire Fraser (President of The Institute of Genomic Research) and Malcolm Dando (Professor of International Security, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, UK) argue in a Commentary article that the biomedical community have a crucial role to play in preventing the use of genomics research in bioweapons manufacture.

Nature’s news and science-writing teams will continue to inform and explain the science behind current events as and when it happens, and this page will be updated accordingly.

Featured articles

Crystal structure of the anthrax lethal factor
ANDREW D. PANNIFER, THIANG YIAN WONG, ROBERT SCHWARZENBACHER, MARTIN RENATUS, CARLO PETOSA, JADWIGA BIENKOWSKA, D. BORDEN LACY, R. JOHN COLLIER, SUKJOON PARK, STEPHEN H. LEPPLA, PHILIP HANNA & ROBERT C. LIDDINGTON
Published online: 23 October 2001, DOI:10.1038/n35101998
PDF (298K)

Identification of the cellular receptor for anthrax toxin
KENNETH A. BRADLEY, JEREMY MOGRIDGE, MICHAEL MOUREZ, R. JOHN COLLIER & JOHN A.T. YOUNG
Published online: 23 October 2001, DOI:10.1038/n35101999
PDF (316K)

nature science update
Anthrax action shapes up

Designing a polyvalent inhibitor of anthrax toxin
MICHAEL MOUREZ, RAVI S. KANE, JEREMY MOGRIDGE, STEVE METALLO, PASCAL DESCHATELETS, BRET R. SELLMAN, GEORGE M. WHITESIDES & R. JOHN COLLIER
Nature Biotechnology 19, 958–961 (October 2001)
| Abstract | Full Text | PDF |

Genomics and future biological weapons: the need for preventive action by the biomedical community
C M FRASER & M R DANDO
Published online: Nature Genetics 22 October 2001, DOI:10.1038/ng763
| Full Text | PDF |

Related news

The bugs of war
CARINA DENNIS
Could our knowledge of microbial genomics and skill in genetic engineering be used to create ’enhanced’ bioweapons? Carina Dennis assesses the threat, and the efforts to counter it.
Nature 411, 232–235 (17 May 2001)
| Full Text | PDF (457 K) |

Genetic sleuths rush to identify anthrax strains in mail attacks
REX DALTON
Nature 413, 657–658 (18 October 2001)
| Full Text | PDF(166 K) |

Bioweapons treaty under threat
DECLAN BUTLER
Nature 413, 657 (18 October 2001)
| Full Text | PDF(166 K) |

Gaps remain in Japan’s biodefences
DAVID CYRANOSKI
Nature 413, 658 (18 October 2001)
| Full Text | PDF(95 K) |

Senators call for biodefence boost
JONATHAN KNIGHT
Nature 413, 441 (4 October 2001)
| Full Text | PDF(98 K) |

Business News
US rejects stronger bioweapons treaty
EMMA DOREY
Nature Biotechnology 19, 793 (September 2001)
| Full Text | PDF |

Pathogen threat spurs research initiatives
REX DALTON
Nature 411, 727 (14 June 2001)
| Full Text | PDF(204 K) |

Shock as labs miss anthrax samples
Nature 411, 514–515 (31 May 2001)
| Full Text | PDF(66 K) |

Smallpox stocks: new focus for research?
ALAN DOVE
Nature Medicine 5, 474 (May 1999)
| Full Text | PDF |

Adjusting FDA policies to address bioterrorist threat
JEFFREY L. FOX
Nature Biotechnology 17, 323–324 (April 1999)
| Full Text | PDF |

Iraq crisis spurs new bioweapons moves
DAVID DICKSON
Lack of provision in the Biological Weapons Convention for monitoring and verifying compliance has long been a worry. But negotiations for such provision have been given new momentum by recent events in Iraq.
Nature 391, 831 (26 February 1998)
| Full Text | PDF(189 K) |

Related commentary and opinion

A call to arms
Biologists should involve themselves in the debate over biological weapons — both to ensure that we have the means to counter the threats that such weapons pose and to help keep those threats in perspective.
Nature 411, 223 (17 May 2001)
| Full Text | PDF(55 K) |

Lessons from Iraq on bioweapons
CHRISTIAN SEELOS
There are strong political pressures to relax the scrutiny of suspected biological weapons activity in Iraq. But the experience of United Nations inspectors in the country points to significant dangers in such a policy.
Nature 398, 187–188 (18 March 1999)
| Full Text | PDF(187 K) |

Related links

CDC anthrax information pages

CNN’s anthrax briefing




*Citing advance online publications

This feature includes papers which have published ahead of print using digital object identifiers (DOIs). This allows the papers to be cited before final pagination and print publication. We recommend that you cite these papers by simply adding the DOI to the end of your normal citation:

Pannifer, A., et al. Crystal structure of the anthrax lethal factor. Nature DOI:10.1038/n35101998

After print publication you may use the traditional print citation, but the DOI citation will remain valid as the DOI is a persistent identifier.

More information on DOIs and Advance Online Publication can be found at: http://www.nature.com/neuro/aop/

| Nature

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity
22.09.2017 | DFG-Forschungszentrum für Regenerative Therapien TU Dresden

nachricht The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet
22.09.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>