Salmonella causes food poisoning and kills around 1 million people worldwide every year; it is becoming more difficult to treat with drugs because it quickly evolves resistance to antibiotics by swapping genes with other bugs during "bacterial sex". These foreign genes help the bacterium because they make it infectious and resistant to antibiotics. Professor Jay Hinton's group at the Institute of Food Research in collaboration with Oxford Gene Technology, have discovered that a protein called H-NS switches off these incoming genes until they need to be activated - a process called gene silencing. This BBSRC-funded study, published today in the respected online journal PLoS Pathogens shows that without proper control the incoming genes make proteins that are toxic for the bacterium. Without H-NS, the bacterium has problems growing and can't function properly. H-NS allows the bacteria to evolve by determining how new pieces of DNA are used in Salmonella.
"We may have found the Achilles' Heel for Salmonella bacteria because they need this H-NS protein to acquire new skills and become infectious" says Jay Hinton, "Salmonella still kills a huge number of people. Discoveries like this will help us find new ways of attacking these dangerous bacteria; if we can inactivate H-NS, we could discover urgently-needed new antibiotics."
Hinton's team found that H-NS works by coating stretches of the foreign DNA, which can be distinguished from Salmonella DNA because it contains a higher amount of the molecules adenine and thymine (A and T). H-NS binding stops foreign genes producing protein unnecessarily. Once the bacterium has invaded a human, the effect of H-NS is blocked and the genes can be switched on.
"Gene silencing is well known in plants and animals, but has never been seen before in bacteria" Jay Hinton adds, "It looks like H-NS has helped Salmonella to evolve to infect humans over the last 10 million years."
The researchers hope that this discovery could lead to a new strategy in the fight against drug-resistant "superbugs".
Vicky Just | alfa
Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania
The strange double life of Dab2
10.01.2017 | University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction