Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Going against the flow – Targeting bacterial motility to combat disease

18.11.2014

The ability to move enables many bacteria to reach a specific niche or to leave hostile environments. The bacterium Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a poultry pathogen that is capable of gliding over solid surfaces.

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna have now identified the proteins responsible for this gliding mechanism. Interrupting the gliding mechanism could be a way to make the bacteria less virulent, but it could also help in the development of vaccines against the pathogen. The results were published in the journal Veterinary Research.


Mycoplasma gallisepticum on epithelial cells of a chicken trachea.

Photo: Michael Szostak / Vetmeduni Vienna

Mycoplasma gallisepticum causes chronic respiratory disease in birds. The illness particularly affects domestic chicken and turkey flocks. The bacteria are especially life-threatening for the animals when they occur in combination with other infections. In order to control the spread of the disease, poultry farms in the EU must be proven free from Mycoplasma gallisepticum or face being closed.

Mycoplasma gallisepticum is related to the human pathogen Mycoplasma pneumoniae, the causative agent of human bronchitis and pneumonia. Mycoplasmas are among the world’s smallest microorganisms. Scientists even speak of degenerative bacteria. Over the course of evolution, mycoplasmas have thrown most of their genetic material over board, resulting in one of the smallest bacterial genomes. This is what makes them such efficiently adapted pathogens in humans and animals.

At least three proteins responsible for the gliding mechanism

The gliding motility of M. gallisepticum was first observed in the 1960s. However, it has so far been unclear how exactly the gliding mechanism works and which proteins make gliding possible. First author Ivana Indikova and study director Michael Szostak of the Institute of Microbiology at the Vetmeduni Vienna have now found that gliding requires the proteins GapA, CrmA and Mgc2. “If the bacteria are missing one of these three proteins, they are no longer able to move. We want to know if non-motile mycoplasmas are less infectious. If that were the case, we could target the motility genes to turn them off and so render the bacteria harmless,” Szostak explains.

Gliding motility could even contribute to the ability of mycoplasmas to invade and traverse body cells. This could allow them to safely evade the body’s immune system and the infection could spread efficiently through the host body.

The experts can also imagine the development of a vaccine. “Non-motile and non-pathogenic bacteria could form the basis for a new vaccine which the immune system could recognize and fight without causing any illness in the organism,” explains Szostak.

Do gliding mycoplasmas go against the flow?

The ability to move thus gives the pathogens certain advantages. It remains unknown, however, which stimuli M. gallisepticum responds to when gliding. Szostak suspects: “Most mycoplasmas cannot glide. Gliding species have so far been found only in the respiratory and genital tracts – places in which there is a directional mucus flow. We believe that the gliding bacteria possibly move against this flow in order to reach deeper-lying regions of the body. We are currently planning further experiments to attempt to answer this question.”

Service:

The article „First identification of proteins involved in motility of Mycoplasma gallisepticum”, by Ivana Indikova, Martin Vronka and Michael P. Szostak was published in the journal Veterinary Research. DOI: 10.1186/s13567-014-0099-2 http://www.veterinaryresearch.org/content/45/1/99

About the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna in Austria is one of the leading academic and research institutions in the field of Veterinary Sciences in Europe. About 1,300 employees and 2,300 students work on the campus in the north of Vienna which also houses five university clinics and various research sites. Outside of Vienna the university operates Teaching and Research Farms. http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at

Scientific Contact:
Dr. Michael Szostak
Institute of Microbiology
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 20577-2104
michael.szostak@vetmeduni.ac.at

Released by:
Susanna Kautschitsch
Science Communication / Public Relations
University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
T +43 1 25077-1153
susanna.kautschitsch@vetmeduni.ac.at


Weitere Informationen:

http://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/en/infoservice/presseinformation/press-releases-2014/going-against-the-flow-targeting-bacterial-motility-to-combat-disease/

Dr. Susanna Kautschitsch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Medicine Mycoplasma Veterinary Vetmeduni ability bacteria gliding illness immune immune system motility proteins spread

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Colorectal cancer risk factors decrypted
13.07.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung

nachricht Algae Have Land Genes
13.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters

13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Algae Have Land Genes

13.07.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>