Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Discovery increases understanding how bacteria spread: U of A study

21.06.2012
A University of Alberta researcher is moving closer to understanding how infection is caused by the spread of bacteria.
In a study published in the high-impact Cell Press journal called Structure, Joel Weiner and his collaborators, Gerd Prehna and Natalie Stynadka at the University of British Columbia, share new knowledge about how bacteria release proteins.

Proteins are complex molecules that perform all sorts of functions in the cells of living things. The group studied a specific protein called YebF in E. coli bacteria. It is widely found in other bacteria as well.

Solving the structure and understanding the mechanism by which this protein spreads bacterial pathogens was a big step forward. As humans develop more resistance to antibiotics, researchers are in search of new ways to stop bacteria from spreading.

"Most pathogenic bacteria induce special structures in order to release proteins that allow them to infect a host," said Weiner of the Department of Biochemistry, whose lab is funded by the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. "What we show here is that normal, run-of-the-mill bacteria can actually release a protein through the pores [of the bacterial membrane] which are normally there to take in small molecules."

YebF proved to be an interesting protein molecule because in addition to its release through the bacterial pore, which is the most recent discovery, it has the unique property of secreting "passenger proteins" that are attached to it. This unique property was a prior discovery patented by the U of A because it has potential use for the production of protein-based drugs by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.

"What we found in the structure is that there are regions that are very flexible in YebF that seem to be very important in getting it out of the bacteria," said Weiner. "If you make mutants in those regions you can prevent the protein from going out.

"We're not investing enough in identifying new targets for antibiotics," he said. "What this system does suggests a new target. We're looking at drugs that could block the ability of YebF to go out.

"That's really easy to test for," he added. Because the screen is easy, it's good for pharmaceutical companies."

This step in the research took several years, because solving the structure of this protein wasn't easy. The lab typically uses crystallization but stubborn YebF wouldn't work, so instead they had to use nuclear magnetic resonance.

Typically researchers know what action takes place and they try to find the protein that triggers it. In this case the researchers have been working the opposite direction. They have the protein, YebF, but they need to find out its purpose in the cell.

Quinn Phillips | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht From Receptor Structure to New Osteoporosis Drugs
20.11.2018 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Mutation that causes autism and intellectual disability makes brain less flexible
20.11.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Mutation that causes autism and intellectual disability makes brain less flexible

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

The sweet side of reproductive biology

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fading stripes in Southeast Asia: First insight into the ecology of an elusive and threatened rabbit

20.11.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>