Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Switch makes Salmonella stick or twist

06.02.2002


FimZ is the difference between Salmonella sticking(top) or swimming (bottom)
© S. Clegg


Drug leads in protein that sends gut bacteria packing

A protein enables harmful Salmonella bacteria to switch from clinging to our gut lining to swimming off. This get-up-and-go is so crucial to Salmonella’s survival that the protein could prove to be a good target for drugs.

The Salmonella variant Typhimurium causes around 1.4 million cases of food poisoning in the United States each year, and about 1,000 deaths - mainly among infants and the elderly. The bug grips the gut wall to cause infection, and swims off to avoid immune-system attacks or to infect another host.



Steven Clegg at the University of Iowa in Iowa City and Kelly Hughes at the University of Washington in Seattle find that letting go is hard to do if the bacterium produces too much of a protein called FimZ.

This protein makes the bacterium grow sticky filaments, called fimbriae, which lash it to the gut lining. When FimZ production is switched off, the bacteria instead make smooth hairs called flagella. Spinning like propellers, these move the bugs around.

Mutant bacteria that produce too much FimZ cannot budge, even in conditions that normally send them packing, Clegg and Hughes report. Conversely, forcing the bugs to make too little of the protein could stop them sticking to surfaces, the researchers hope.

"It’s a very promising angle of attack," says Ian Blomfield, who studies gut bacteria at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. He has identified a similar molecular switch in highly infectious Escherichia coli bacteria, which he is patenting as a potential drug target.

Inside out

Clegg and Hughes suspect that FimZ is half of a two-component system. Many bacteria use such protein pairs to sense their surroundings.

Disrupting FimZ production inside Salmonella may be enough to stop the microbes in their tracks. But blocking the other protein, which sits on the outside of the bacteria, might work even better. This would blind a bug to the subtle chemical cues that tell it whether to stay or go.

"If you can knock out that molecule, the bacteria won’t be able to interact with their environment," says Clegg. He hopes that more cellular sleuthing will identify the external molecule, which is a tempting target for future drugs or vaccines.

References

  1. Clegg, S. & Hughes, K. T. FimZ is a molecular link between sticking and swimming in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Journal of Bacteriology, 184, 1209 - 1213, (2002).


TOM CLARKE | © Nature News Service

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht Overdosing on Calcium
19.06.2018 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

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: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

Im Focus: Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Carbon nanotube optics provide optical-based quantum cryptography and quantum computing

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

How to track and trace a protein: Nanosensors monitor intracellular deliveries

19.06.2018 | Life Sciences

New material for splitting water

19.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>