This is the first time it has been elucidated how the pathogenic organism goes about penetrating a protective mucous layer. The findings are presented in the latest issue of the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S.
The parasite Entamoeba histolytica is extremely common, but many people live with the amoeba in their body without noticing it. Some 500 million people around the world carry the parasite, but only one tenth of them develop symptoms.
The amoeba can infect the large intestine and cause bloody diarrhea. If the parasite penetrates further into the body, it can form cysts in the liver, and the disease can be fatal.
The stomach and intestines are protected by a layer of mucous that is extra thick and dense in the large intestine. This mucous is made up of large carbohydrate-rich protein molecules called mucins. The mucous layer forms a barrier that is difficult to penetrate and normally cannot be broken down, but organisms that cause disease in the large intestine nevertheless managed to get through.
The article shows that the amoeba Entamoeba histolytica secrets specific protein-cleaving enzymes that can split the mucin, causing the network to collapse.
“The amoeba enzyme cleaves the mucin at a very particular and unusual protein sequence. This allows the amoeba to bore through the mucous layer like a projectile and infect the underlying epithelial cells of the intestine,” says research Martin Lidell.
In the Third World nearly 100,000 people die each year as a result of complications following amoeba infections.
“We now have a better understanding of amoeba infections, and this knowledge provides us with the possibility of designing drugs that can prevent the amoeba from breaking down the mucous barrier and thereby infect the person,” says Professor Gunnar C. Hansson, who directs mucin biological research at the Sahlgrenska Academy.
This research is being carried out in collaboration with amoeba experts in Canada.
Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.
Title of article: Entamoeba histolytica cysteine proteases cleave the MUC2 mucin in its C-terminal domain and dissolve the protective colonic mucus gel
Authors: Martin E. Lidell, Darcy M. Moncada, Kris Chadee, and Gunnar C. Hansson
Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour
24.05.2018 | Arizona State University
3D images of cancer cells in the body: Medical physicists from Halle present new method
16.05.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy