Two so-called invasion proteins are crucial for infection. Each binds a specific receptor on the surface of human cells, which stimulates the host cell to take up the pathogen. Normally, these receptor molecules exert a different function, for example the regulation of cell growth and wound healing. The group's results have now been published in the current issue of the "Journal of Molecular Biology".
Spoiled meat is one of the sources for Listeria infections leading to listeriosis. Pregnant women, newborns and immune compromised people are susceptible for a severe progression of this disease. Firstly, the pathogen breaches the intestinal barrier and thus enters the body. The key for further spreading is the invasion protein internalin B that is located on the bacterial surface. On human cells, internalin B activates a receptor molecule called "Met", thereby signaling the host cell to take up the pathogen. Inside the cell, Listeria uses the host cell's nutrients and is somehow sheltered from an immune response.
Until now, the researchers did not know how the bacterial invasion protein activates the human receptor. To solve this question, the structural biologists from the HZI first analysed the crystal structures of the single internalin B molecule and of its complex bound to human Met. "In X-Ray structural analysis we noticed that in protein crystals two internalin B molecules align characteristically," says Hartmut Niemann, assistant professor at the University of Bielefeld. Professor Dirk Heinz, head of the structural biologists at the HZI, explains: "This gave rise to the idea of a dimer – two congregated internalin B molecules – playing a pivotal role in the activation of the Met receptor."
Minor changes in the internalin B molecule confirmed their hypothesis: inhibiting the congregation of two internalin B molecules prevented the activation of Met. On the other hand, strengthening the interaction resulted in particularly strong receptor activation.
These results may lead to the development of new protein drugs in the future. "Met plays a major role in the body, for example during wound healing," says Heinz. "Thanks to the extraordinary ability of the internalin B dimer to strongly activate Met, therapeutics for improved wound healing may result someday."
Originalartikel: Ligand-Mediated Dimerization of the Met Receptor Tyrosine Kinase by the Bacterial Invasion Protein InlB. Davide M. Ferraris, Ermanno Gherardi, Ying Di, Dirk W. Heinz and Hartmut H. Niemann. J Mol Biol. 2009 Nov 6. [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2009.10.074
Dr. Bastian Dornbach | EurekAlert!
How gut bacteria can make us ill
18.01.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
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...
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...
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...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences
18.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences