Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Texas A&M Researchers Examine How Viruses Destroy Bacteria

20.11.2009
Viruses are well known for attacking humans and animals, but some viruses instead attack bacteria. Texas A&M University researchers are exploring how hungry viruses, armed with transformer-like weapons, attack bacteria, which may aid in the treatment of bacterial infections.

The Texas A&M researchers' work is published in the renowned journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

The attackers are called phages, or bacteriophages, meaning eaters of bacteria.

The word bacteriophage is derived from the Greek "phagein," meaning eater of bacteria.

"The phages first attach to the bacteria and then inject their DNA," says Sun Qingan, coauthor of the article and a doctoral student at Texas A&M. "Then they reproduce inside the cell cytoplasm."

After more than 100 phage particles have been assembled, the next step is to be released from the bacterial host, so that the progeny virions can find other hosts and repeat the reproduction cycle, Sun adds.

Besides the cell membrane, the phages have another obstacle on their way out – a hard shell called cell wall that protects the bacteria. Only by destroying the cell wall can the phages release their offspring.

But, don't worry. The phages have a secret weapon – an enzyme that can destroy the wall from inside, thus called endolysin.

"One of the special examples, R21, remains inactive when it is first synthesized and attached to the membrane as demonstrated in our paper," Sun explains. "But when the enzyme leaves the membrane, it restructures just like a transformer and gains the power to destroy the cell wall."

The trigger controlling the transformation process is a segment of the enzyme call the SAR domain, according to the Texas A&M team.

"The SAR domain is like the commander – it tells the enzyme when to begin restructuring and destroying the cell wall," he says. "This finding enables us to better understand the release process and provides us with a possible target when we want to control the destruction of bacteria cell walls or prohibit this action in some infectious diseases."

Some research has been conducted to explore the possibility of using phages to kill bacteria and thus treating bacterial infections.

Sun and colleagues' finding unveils one secret of the phages and may be useful in phage therapy and other applications.

Contact: Sun Qingan at (979) 862-7639 or q-sun@neo.tamu.edu or Miao Jingang at miaojingang@tamu.edu.

About research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world's leading research institutions, Texas A&M is in the vanguard in making significant contributions to the storehouse of knowledge, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represents an annual investment of more than $582 million, which ranks third nationally for universities without a medical school, and underwrites approximately 3,500 sponsored projects. That research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting in many cases in economic benefits to the state, nation and world.

Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/tamutalk.

Sun Qingan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu
http://tamunews.tamu.edu

Further reports about: A&M SAR SAR domain Texas bacteria bacterial infection enzyme transformation process viruses

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>