Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UGA scientists unravel 'molecular inch-worm' structure of walking-pneumonia bacterium

24.10.2006
Researchers at the University of Georgia, using glow-in-the-dark proteins and microcinematography, have helped unravel the development and function of a complex organelle in the bacterium that causes "walking pneumonia."

The researchers have described in new, precise detail the unique cell extension that forms on one end of the bacterium Mycoplasma pneumoniae. This structure, called a "terminal organelle," performs several tasks for this pervasive bacterium and even acts as a "molecular inch-worm," helping the microorganism move.

"Mycoplasmas are among the simplest known prokaryotes--only a fraction the size of other health-related bacteria such as E. coli," said microbiologist Duncan Krause, leader of the research team. "They are true minimalists with very small genomes, lacking the typical cell regulatory mechanisms found in other bacteria. And yet some species such as M. pneumoniae posses this complex terminal organelle. We've been able to observe it in growing cultures and describe the choreography of events at a level of detail not previously possible."

The research is being published this week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Other authors of the paper include graduate student Benjamin Hasselbring, undergraduate Robert Krause and former graduate student Jarrat Jordan.

... more about:
»Organelle »bacterium »pneumonia »structure

M. pneumoniae infections affect millions worldwide, causing chronic bronchitis and atypical or "walking pneumonia," a term that describes cases of pneumonia that are distinct from acute, life-threatening pneumonia requiring a patient's hospitalization.

Krause and others have been increasingly interested in the terminal organelle that develops on one end of M. pneumoniae because it is involved in cell division, adherence to respiratory tissues and a little-understood mechanism of propulsion called "gliding motility."

Bacteria can move in a variety of ways, including the use of flagella to "swim." But since M. pneumoniae lack flagella, they "glide," a method of movement that has been known for some time yet never entirely understood. The cells seem to bend and flex, but it's unclear how that is accomplished. The new data indicate that gliding is essential for cell division in M. pneumoniae.

"In addition to its significant impact on public health, M. pneumoniae is intriguing from a biological perspective," said Krause. "They have no cell walls, and their genome is among the smallest known for a cell capable of a free-living existence."

Other researchers, using electron microscopy, have described the basic structure of the terminal organelle, but Krause's team went further, using fluorescence microscopy and fluorescent protein fusions that allowed them to track the actions of specific proteins in live, growing cells. Time-lapse digital imaging let them see the development and activity of this structure in real time--giving new clues about function and demonstrating that, contrary to previous thinking, multiple new terminal organelles often form before cell division is observed.

From the standpoint of basic science, this research demonstrates the feasibility of using fluorescent proteins to study how organelles in these incredibly tiny bacteria grow and what their functions are. From a medical standpoint, however, they point the way to potential new drug targets and therapies to stop walking pneumonia and chronic bronchitis infections in their tracks.

Since the organelle is involved in colonization of epithelial tissues in human lungs, finding a way to stop such attachment or gliding could halt infections or make them far less severe.

"M. pneumoniae accounts for 20 percent of community-acquired pneumonias in this country," said Krause. "Finding out more about how the bacterium that causes the disease works gives us a new edge in thinking of ways to overcome such infections."

Philip Lee Williams | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uga.edu

Further reports about: Organelle bacterium pneumonia structure

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

nachricht Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals
23.05.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

Space-like gravity weakens biochemical signals in muscle formation

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

NIST puts the optical microscope under the microscope to achieve atomic accuracy

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>