Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

E. coli playing the role of cobra

10.05.2004


Moscow researchers have solved the most challenging problem: they made E. coli synthesize one of the most toxic elements of cobra’s poison. It was no simpler a task than keeping a terrarium. The scientists’ efforts were supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and INTAS.



Natural poisons have always been an attraction for researchers, but it is very hard to study them as poisons are multi-componential and each of them affects cells in its own specific way. Such are alpha-neurotoxins – the most toxic component of cobra’s poison. The development of medicine to cure diseases of the nervous system requires data on the structure and properties of the alpha-neurotoxins and expertise in their behavior at the molecular level. Researchers from the Shemyakin and Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences got interested in neurotoxin II which interacts in a specific way with a certain type of the muscular cells receptors . To investigate the effect of the toxin, it is necessary to constantly obtain the required protein – pure and sufficient in quantity. Such tasks are traditionally solved with the help of E. coli: the required gene is forced into it and made working (it is very costly, inconvenient and troublesome to get poison from a snake before each experiment). However, it is practically impossible to obtain alpha-neurotoxin II using such a method, as this protein is unable to fold into its proper shape in the bacterium cell and is very quickly destroyed. But Moscow bioorganic chemists managed to avoid these problems and to obtain a sufficient quantity of stable protein. It was actually no simpler a task than keeping a terrarium.

In order to make E. coli synthesize neurotoxin, it was necessary to obtain the gene of this toxin first. The gene was constructed out of ten DNA pieces having been synthesized in the laboratory. A gene of the E. coli natural protein – thioredoxin – was also included into the construction to stabilize neutrotoxin. After completing its task, thioredoxin should be split off from the produced protein to avoid hanging around the toxin as a redundancy. For this purpose, a special DNA part was inserted between two genes as a kind of a molecular button allowing the subsequent disposal of the redundant piece.


The scientists had to assemble the final construction in several phases and then to correct its structure. But their efforts were paid off. They received a genetically-engineered protein which in accordance with the physico-chemical analysis is identical to the natural neurotoxin. 1 liter of bacterium culture yielded about 6 mg of protein – such quantity is sufficient enough for investigating the interaction of toxin and its mutations with cell receptors. No foreign research team has ever managed to obtain such pure toxin and in such quantity though there was quite a number of attempts. The system has another advantage. If by any chance the modified E. coli ‘escapes’ the laboratory it will not pose any danger. In order to obtain a soluble toxin, bacteria should be grown at 12oC – the temperature which is uncomfortable for them – and then thioredoxin stabilizing the protein should be removed to the conditions non-existent in nature. The researchers are planning to conduct comparative biological tests for two alpha-neurotoxins II – the artificial and natural ones.

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.infomnauka.ru

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>