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 Warming ponds could accelerate climate change
21.02.2017 | University of Exeter

nachricht An alternative to opioids? Compound from marine snail is potent pain reliever
21.02.2017 | University of Utah

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>