Researchers have discovered the mechanism by which the genetic defect underlying cystic fibrosis (CF) leads to fatal bacterial colonization of the lungs. The new findings, published today in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that an aerosol treatment aimed at balancing pH in lung cells could be developed to stave off or delay such infections.
The most common inherited lethal disorder in Caucasians, CF stems from mutations in a gene that encodes the so-called cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. Although scientists have known that for some time, exactly how the dysfunctional protein relates to the chronic respiratory infections that characterize the disease has remained a mystery. Enter Jens Poschet of the University of New Mexico and colleagues, who found that the defect results in the excess production of acid in lung cells. This, the team determined, prevents the cells from attaching key sugar molecules to certain proteins dotting their surfaces. The absence of those sugars, in turn, enables bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa to latch onto the cells much more easily—a prelude to infection.
Importantly, when the researchers restored normal acidity to such cells in vitro, the bacteria could no longer stick to them. "This was an exciting discovery to us, because in the test tube at least we can correct the deficiency with simple maneuvers," team member Vojo Deretic of the University of New Mexico remarks. "We already have ion pump inhibitors and antacids for treating heartburn," he adds. "If we can design similar compounds to go to the lungs, we might have a simple solution to greatly improve the health of CF patients."
Kate Wong | Scientific American
NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
20.11.2017 | Earth Sciences
20.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy