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 Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

nachricht Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

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: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>