Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Technique tricks bacteria into generating their own vaccine

25.02.2009
Scientists have developed a way to manipulate bacteria so they will grow mutant sugar molecules on their cell surfaces that could be used against them as the key component in potent vaccines.

Any resulting vaccines, if proven safe, could be developed more quickly, easily and cheaply than many currently available vaccines used to prevent bacterial illnesses.

Most vaccines against bacteria are created with polysaccharides, or long strings of sugars found on the surface of bacterial cells. The most common way to develop these vaccines is to remove sugars from the cell surface and link them to proteins to give them more power to kill bacteria.

Polysaccharides alone typically do not generate a strong enough antibody response needed to kill bacteria. But this new technique would provide an easy approach to make a small alteration to the sugar structure and produce the polysaccharide by simple fermentation.

“We are showing for the first time that you don’t have to use complicated chemical reactions to make the alteration to the polysaccharide,” said Peng George Wang, Ohio Eminent Scholar and professor of biochemistry and chemistry at Ohio State University and senior author of the study. “All we need to do is ferment the bacteria, and then the polysaccharides that grow on the surface of the cell already incorporate the modification.”

The research is scheduled to appear in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In vaccines, polysaccharides linked with carrier proteins are injected into the body. That sets off a process that causes the release of antibodies that recognize the sugars as an unwanted foreign body. The antibodies then remain dormant but ready to attack if they ever see the same polysaccharides again – which would be a signal that bacteria have infected the body.

Polysaccharides are chains of sugars, or monosaccharides, and they are targeted for vaccine development because they are the portion of bacterial cells that interact with the rest of the body.

Escherichia coli was used as a model for the study. Wang and colleagues used one of the existing monosaccharides present on the E. coli cell surface polysaccharides, called fucose, to generate this new modification. They manipulated the structure of the fucose to create 10 different analogs, or forms of the sugar in which just one small component is changed.

The scientists then manually introduced these altered forms of fucose to a solution in which bacterial cells were growing, and the bacterial cells absorbed the altered fucose as they would normal forms of the sugar. The presence of these altered forms of fucose then altered the properties of the polysaccharides that grew on the surface of the cells.

“This way, we don’t have to do anything to modify the polysaccharides. We let bacteria do it for us,” Wang said.

“Bacteria grow lots of polysaccharides – it’s similar to the way humans grow hair. But for a vaccine, you need to make the molecules more active, or energetic,” he said. “In our method, we feed the bacteria these chemicals while they are growing, and those chemicals end up in the polysaccharides and that makes them more immunogenic. That’s the technology.”

Wang said the approach is likely to be applicable to many different kinds of bacteria. But each type of pathogen must be tested individually with the alteration of sugars unique to its surface.

“If you want to prevent one type of bacteria, you have to find something very unique for this bacteria because different microbes have different characteristics,” he said. “You have to find the oddest thing on the cell surface. It has to be on surface because what the body sees first is the surface.”

His lab will next be testing the method’s effectiveness on the pneumococcus bacteria under an exploratory $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The current vaccine to prevent pneumonia in babies and the elderly combines 23 strains of bacteria, making it complex and expensive to produce. Each injection costs about $50 in the United States. A less expensive way to develop the vaccine would increase its availability in the developing world, Wang said.

This published research was supported by an endowed Ohio Eminent Scholar Professorship on Macromolecular Structure and Function in the Department of Biochemistry at Ohio State.

Co-authors of the work are Wen Yi, a recipient of a Ph.D. from the Ohio State Biochemistry Program who is now at the California Institute of Technology; Xi Chen of the University of California, Davis; Jianjun Li of the Institute for Biological Sciences at National Research Council of Canada; Chengfeng Xia, Guangyan Zhou and Wenpeng Zhang of Ohio State’s Departments of Biochemistry and Chemistry; Yanhong Li of the University of California, Davis; Xianwei Liu of Shandong University, China; and Wei Zhao of Nankai University, China.

Contact: Peng George Wang, (614) 292-9884; wang.892@osu.edu
(Wang will be traveling the week of Feb. 23; e-mail is the best way to contact him.)

Written by Emily Caldwell, (614) 292-8310; caldwell.151@osu.edu

Peng George Wang | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New insights into the world of trypanosomes
23.08.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht New Test for Rare Immunodeficiency
23.08.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

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,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

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...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

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...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

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...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the world of trypanosomes

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

New Test for Rare Immunodeficiency

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>