Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Pry New Information from Disease-Causing, Shellfish-Borne Bacterium

20.08.2010
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have uncovered a key weapon in the molecular arsenal the infectious bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus (V. para) uses to kill cells and cause food poisoning in its human host.

Dr. Kim Orth, associate professor of molecular biology at UT Southwestern, said the new research on the ocean-dwelling bacterium is leading to greater insights into how it causes illness in humans while also providing a potential novel scientific tool for studying general cell biology in the laboratory. Dr. Orth is senior author of the study, which appears in the Aug. 19 issue of Science Express, the advance online version of the journal Science.

Dr. Orth and her team found that the bacterial molecule VPA0450 plucks a group of atoms called a phosphate from a larger molecule in a host cell that is critical to holding the cell together. Without that phosphate, the host-cell membrane fails. The cell loses integrity and is efficiently destroyed during infection.

“From a microbiology point of view, understanding how VPA0450 manipulates a host cell is critical to understanding how V. para causes disease,” said Chris Broberg, a UT Southwestern student in the molecular microbiology graduate program and lead author of the study.

Dr. Orth and her colleagues previously identified two other Vibrio proteins called VopQ and VopS, which also attack host cells via separate mechanisms. She said the new findings reinforce the notion that V. para kills a host cell through the combined efforts of several so-called effector proteins working together rather than through the actions of a single protein.

“In order to understand better the disease this bacterium causes, we need to characterize each effector’s activity, then determine how they work in concert,” Dr. Orth said. “This latest paper puts our field closer to this goal.

“The fact that this important study was led by one of our graduate students attests to UT Southwestern’s highly successful model of training future scientists.”

Most people become infected by V. para by eating raw or undercooked shellfish, particularly oysters, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The organism also can cause an infection in the skin when an open wound is exposed to warm sea water.

Dr. Orth’s research on V. para proteins has potential applications in other areas of cell biology. The particular phosphate that VPA0450 removes also is important to other host-cell proteins that control certain communication signals within and between cells, signals related to how cells grow and move, as well as how they maintain their structural integrity. As such, exploiting VPA0450’s unique abilities could prove to be a useful research tool.

“Scientists have the ability to manipulate many cell-signaling pathways,” Dr. Orth said. “VPA0450 could be used as a valuable tool to remove this key phosphate to change membrane signaling in a cell model system, which would then allow us to study these pathways in more detail.”

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study are Dr. Lingling Zhang, postdoctoral researcher in molecular biology; Herman Gonzalez, research technician; and Michelle Laskowski-Arce, postdoctoral researcher.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and The Welch Foundation.

This news release is available on our World Wide Web home page at
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/home/news/index.html
To automatically receive news releases from UT Southwestern via e-mail,
subscribe at www.utsouthwestern.edu/receivenews

Amanda Siegfried | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period
27.07.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Serious children’s infections also spreading in Switzerland
26.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

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: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>