Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Structure of key enzyme in plague bacterium found

22.08.2006
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have solved the structure of a key enzyme from the bacterium responsible for plague, finding that it has a highly unusual configuration. The results may shed light both on how the bacterium kills and on fundamental cell signaling processes.

The NIST team determined the three-dimensional shape of class IV adenylyl cyclase (AC), an enzyme found in plague bacteria -- Yersinia pestis -- by purifying and crystallizing the protein and using X-ray crystallography at the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology to resolve its configuration. Adenylyl cyclase is a fundamental enzyme found in one form or another in organisms ranging from bacteria to mammals. It synthesizes cyclic AMP (cAMP*), an important signaling molecule that in turn triggers a variety of cellular processes. Six distinct classes of AC are known, playing a wide variety of roles. AC-II is part of the anthrax bacterium's killing mechanism, for example, while AC-III triggers adrenaline release in humans.

Shape plays an essential role in determining the biological function of a protein, but it's very difficult to determine for such large molecules. Three-dimensional structures are known for only two other forms of AC. The NIST experiments revealed that AC-IV has a shape completely different from the other two known shapes. AC-IV folds into a rare form of a barrel-like shape previously seen in only three other unrelated proteins.

The purpose of AC-IV in plague is not well understood, but it may play a role in disrupting cell processes in the infected host. Plague is not as common as it was in the Middle Ages, when it killed millions, but the World Health Organization still logs about 1,000 to 3,000 cases a year, an average of 10 to 15 in the United States. It is rated as a highest category biothreat agent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Fundamental molecular data on this enzyme and its various forms may be critical to the development of defenses against plague and other pathogens, including Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax) and Bordetella pertussis (Whooping cough). Beyond that, structural and functional studies of AC-IV, with its unusual shape, may lead to deeper understanding of the cAMP signaling mechanism and other fundamental cellular processes.

Michael Baum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nist.gov

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)

nachricht CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

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...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

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...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

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...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

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...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>