Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Targeting a waterborne foe

26.04.2010
A Brandeis biochemist's pioneering research on cryptosporidium could lead to the first effective treatment

Discovered in 1976, cryptosporidium lurks worldwide in water, contaminating swimming pools, water parks, and drinking water supplies. Although it has even been featured on the comedy show The Colbert Report, it is no laughing matter—this microscopic pathogen is a leading cause of diarrhea and malnutrition and the most common source of infection in immune-weakened people such as AIDS patients. It is also a potential bioterrorism agent.

"All you need is a cow and a centrifuge to harvest enough oocysts to infect a small city," says Brandeis University biochemist Liz Hedstrom. Roughly 20 percent of calves are infected by cryptosporidium oocysts, which are found in their feces. In 1993, in the largest waterborne disease outbreak in U.S. history, this nasty protozoan parasite infiltrated Milwaukee's municipal water supply, killing more than 100 people and sickening some 400,000.

Cryptosporidium invades the small intestine, where it opens fire, typically causing severe gastrointestinal distress and even death in people with weakened immune systems. Cryptosporidium is a hardy foe whose oocysts—a spore-like phase in the parasite life cycle—remain stable outside a host for long periods and are resistant to conventional water treatment such as chlorine disinfection.

The latest research news on this waterborne foe will be the focus of Hedstrom's talk, titled "Targeting a prokaryotic protein in a eukaryotic parasite," at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's annual meeting. The talk will be held in the Anaheim Convention Center, Room 304C, on Sunday April 25 at 9:55 am PST. Hedstrom's promising research could lead to an effective treatment to prevent cryptosporidiosis.

Hedstrom and her collaborators made a critical breakthrough in eroding cryptosporidium defenses when they identified IMPDH, a key enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of RNA and DNA, as a potential drug target. Her research has shown that IMPDH inhibitors block the parasite from proliferating in vitro. Importantly, the Cryptosporidium IMPDH has very different properties from those of the human enzyme counterpart.

Next, Hedstrom and her colleagues identified compounds that blocked the action of the Cryptosporidium IMPDH, but spared human IMPDH. Leading a large-scale screen of a commercial library containing 129,000 compounds, Hedstrom discovered more than fifty compounds that specifically inhibit the parasite enzyme. A number of these compounds display antiparasitic activity. Hedstrom is now working on improving the compounds' potency, bioavailability and metabolic stability, a first step in the drug development process.

"It's a difficult problem, but we think that we have some very promising compounds," says Hedstrom.

NOTE TO EDITORS: The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology annual meeting is part of the Experimental Biology 2010 conference that will be held April 24-28, 2010 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The press is invited to attend or to make an appointment to interview Dr. Hedstrom. Please contact Nicole Kresge at 202.316.5447 or nkresge@asbmb.org.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (www.asbmb.org) is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with over 12,000 members. Founded in 1906, the Society is based in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The Society's purpose is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology through publication of scientific and educational journals: the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Molecular & Cellular Proteomics, and the Journal of Lipid Research, organization of scientific meetings, advocacy for funding of basic research and education, support of science education at all levels, and promoting the diversity of individuals entering the scientific workforce.

Nicole Kresge | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asbmb.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short
23.03.2017 | Institut für Pflanzenbiochemie

nachricht WPI team grows heart tissue on spinach leaves
23.03.2017 | Worcester Polytechnic Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>