Speaker Michelle Hares, of the University of Exeter, studies insect-killing nematode worms which have symbiotic bacteria living in their guts. When the worm encounters insect prey, it burrows into the insect’s body and regurgitates the bacteria. These bacteria, called Photorhabdus luminescens, then release toxins directly into the insect’s bloodstream, rapidly killing it. The insect’s flesh then provides food for the bacteria and in turn the bacteria are food for the nematode.
“Once inside an insect, caterpillar or larva, the bacteria release a mixture of toxins which kill the victim”, says Michelle Hares of the University of Exeter’s Cornwall Campus. “The toxins we identified are made up of three different proteins, and all three are needed to kill the insect”. The Cornwall based scientists also discovered that the same genes needed to make these protein toxins are found in the Yersinia pestis bacteria which caused the bubonic plague, and in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis which causes thousands of cases of gastroenteritis today.
When the toxic proteins from both these human pathogenic bacteria were fed to tobacco hornworm caterpillars they had no effect, but when the same proteins were put on living cells from humans both Yersinia bacteria strains killed the cells.
“Our initial interest in this group of toxins, was centered around the hunt for novel insecticides, but our work now suggests they may also play an important role in the evolution of human and mammalian disease”, says Michelle Hares. “Our findings suggest that insecticidal toxin complexes have been adapted by the Yersinia family of bacteria to attack mammalian cells. We are therefore currently investigating exactly how the toxin complexes elicit their response and how they are involved in the evolution of pathogenic disease in Yersinia”.
Lucy Goodchild | EurekAlert!
New gene catalog of ocean microbiome reveals surprises
18.08.2017 | University of Hawaii at Manoa
Organ Crosstalk: Fatty Liver Can Cause Damage to Other Organs
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Diabetesforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Information Technology