Each year 170,000 people around the world die of this type of meningitis, according to the World Health Organization, WHO. Bacterial meningitis, as the disease is called, can even spark epidemics: in Africa 250,000 people were affected in a matter of weeks in the late 1990s. Without treatment, mortality among those who contract the disease is 85-90 percent, with treatment some 10-15 percent. Patients also run a high risk of serious disability after recovery.
Only humans are susceptible to infection from meningococci. In its modeling system Ann-Beth Jonsson’s research team therefore used mice that produce the human receptor that the bacteria bind to. Marking the bacteria to emit light, the scientists used cameras to monitor their activities in the living mice during the course of the disease.
“The bacteria are almost knocked out by the immune defense system, but then they resurge, this time with alterations in the surface protein. What’s more, we discovered that the bacteria aggregate in the thyroid and can impact hormone production during the infection,” says Ann-Beth Jonsson.
The study also shows that bacteria that lack a certain adhesin (the protein that the bacteria cells use to adhere to the receptors) could not attach to mucous linings.
Thanks to the new system the research team has developed, it is now possible to rapidly and effectively monitor the function of various vaccine candidates and new drugs, obviating the numerous costly and time-consuming tests that have been necessary until now. At the same time, the system provides a clear picture of the process of infection.
“With these findings as tools, we can continue to study the course of the disease and test vaccines on living organisms. Moreover we will be able to find new strategies for improving the prognoses for those who are affected by meningococcus disorders,” says Ann-Beth Jonsson.
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25.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Alternsforschung - Fritz-Lipmann-Institut e.V. (FLI)
If solubilty is the problem - Mechanochemistry is the solution
25.05.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
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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...
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...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
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