Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Unique Mechanism Identified in Bacteria as Potential Target for Developing New Antibiotics

23.07.2012
Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine have identified a unique mechanism in bacteria that has the potential to serve as a target for developing new antibiotics for diseases such as AIDS and soft tissue infections including respiratory and urogenital tracts, which are currently difficult to treat.

The results of these findings were published in an article titled “Novel One-step Mechanism for tRNA 3’-End Maturation by the Exoribonuclease RNase of Mycoplasma gentialium” in the current issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Co-authors of the article are Ravi K. Alluri, a pre-doctoral student in the department of biomedical science and Dr. Zhongwei Li, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical science in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.

Li and Alluri explain that every organism lives on the same principle that genes direct the production of proteins. This process depends on a set of small RNAs called tRNAs that carry the building blocks of proteins. A tRNA is produced from its gene initially as a precursor that contains extra parts at each end (5’ and 3’ ends) and sometimes in the middle. These extra parts must be removed through RNA processing before tRNA can work during protein production. The processing of tRNA 5’ end has been known for quite some time and work on this enzyme has received a Nobel Prize. Processing of the 3’ end is much more complicated and has only been revealed in some organisms more recently. Organisms that have nucleus in their cells, including humans, appear to process the 3’ end of tRNA in a similar way. A tRNA must be precisely processed before it can carry a building block for proteins.

“Intriguingly, bacteria appear to process the 3’ end of tRNA very differently,” said Alluri. “And we are still trying to reveal the various enzymes called RNases, which remove the 3’ extra parts of tRNA precursors.”

Some of the RNases cut the RNA in the middle, while others trim the RNA from the 3’ end. Most of the bacterial pathways involve multiple RNases to complete tRNA 3’ processing.

“Knowing how tRNA is processed in different types of bacteria is important not only for understanding how bacteria live, but also for developing novel antibiotics that specifically control bacterial pathogens,” said Li.

One such pathogen is the bacterium Mycoplasma genitalium, which is the second smallest known free-living organism that is thought to cause infertility. Alluri and Li’s current work focuses on this bacterium—its genome only contains about 10 percent of the genes found in other common bacteria. Surprisingly, this bacterium contains none of the known RNases for tRNA 3’ processing and hence it has to use a different RNase to do so.

“What we have discovered with Mycoplasma genitalium is that it uses a completely different RNase called RNase R to process the 3’ end of tRNA,” said Alluri. “RNase R can trim the 3’ extra part of a tRNA precursor to make a ‘functional’ tRNA. It is even smart enough to recognize some structural features in the tRNA and tell where the trimming has to stop without harming the mature tRNA.”

The ability of RNase R to completely remove the 3’ extra RNA bases in a single-step trimming reaction represents a novel mechanism of tRNA 3’ processing. Other mycoplasmas generally have small genomes and likely process tRNA in the same way. Using only one enzyme for this complicated task saves genetic resources for mycoplasmas.

“Importantly, blocking the function of RNase R in mycoplasmas can stop protein production and kill the bacteria, making RNase R an excellent target of new antibiotics for treatment of mycoplasma infection,” said Li.

About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University serves more than 29,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida, where its annual economic impact exceeds $6.3 billion. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.

Gisele Galoustian | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.fau.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals
23.08.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Treating arthritis with algae
23.08.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

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

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>