Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Melting bacteria to decipher antibiotic resistance

09.07.2018

EMBL scientists investigate how bacteria melt to study their reaction to drugs

With antibiotic resistance spreading worldwide, there is a strong need for new technologies to study bacteria. EMBL researchers have adapted an existing technique to study the melting behaviour of proteins so that it can be used for the study of bacteria. Molecular Systems Biology published their results - allowing researchers worldwide to start using the technique - on July 6.


E. coli bacteria colored in heat gradient.

Credit: Aleksandra Krolik / EMBL

Thermal proteome profiling (TPP) was developed in 2014 (Savitski et al., Science 2014) and enables scientists to compare the melting behavior of all proteins in a cell or organism before and after a perturbation, such as the administration of a drug.

By adapting TPP to bacteria, it can now be used to study the activity and architecture of most proteins in a bacterial cell while it's alive. André Mateus, a postdoc working in the Savitski and Typas groups at EMBL, led the study.

Bacteria taking the heat

While human bodies cease to function at temperatures above 42°C, E. coli bacteria still grow regularly up to 45°C. "We discovered that proteins in the middle of a bacterial cell are less tolerant to heat than those at the cell surface," says Mikhail Savitski. "Surprisingly, a protein's location is more predictive for its melting behavior than which other proteins it interacts with."

With TPP, researchers can also investigate the effects of drugs on bacteria. Protein-drug interactions typically increase the proteins' heat tolerance, resulting in higher melting points. Therefore, comparing the heat tolerance of drug-treated and untreated bacterial cells helps to identify targets of antimicrobial drugs, but also to decipher how the bacterial cell succumbs to the drug or tries to bypass its action.

Drug resistance mechanisms

"In one particular case, we were able to elucidate a novel drug resistance mechanism," says André Mateus. "Cells use proteins to pump antibiotics out of the cell. After genetically removing one such efflux pump from their chromosome, bacteria became more sensitive to many drugs, but curiously more resistant to one specific antibiotic called aztreonam. Using TPP, we found that this was due to dramatically reduced levels of a specific porin - a protein that acts as a pore - used by aztreonam to enter the cell."

Compared to other techniques, TPP allows scientists to investigate the effects of perturbations on thousands of individual proteins in a short timeframe. Most of the obtained insights - like the changes in the activity of proteins in vivo - would be impossible with other conventional techniques and for so many proteins simultaneously, showing TPP's potential to study bacteria in detail.

Media Contact

Iris Kruijen
iris.kruijen@embl.de
49-622-138-78443

 @EMBL

http://www.embl.org 

Iris Kruijen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://news.embl.de/science/melting-bacteria-to-decipher-antibiotic-resistance/
http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/msb.20188242

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New yeast species discovered in Braunschweig, Germany
13.12.2019 | Leibniz-Institut DSMZ-Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH

nachricht Saliva test shows promise for earlier and easier detection of mouth and throat cancer
13.12.2019 | Elsevier

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Virus multiplication in 3D

Vaccinia viruses serve as a vaccine against human smallpox and as the basis of new cancer therapies. Two studies now provide fascinating insights into their unusual propagation strategy at the atomic level.

For viruses to multiply, they usually need the support of the cells they infect. In many cases, only in their host’s nucleus can they find the machines,...

Im Focus: Cheers! Maxwell's electromagnetism extended to smaller scales

More than one hundred and fifty years have passed since the publication of James Clerk Maxwell's "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" (1865). What would our lives be without this publication?

It is difficult to imagine, as this treatise revolutionized our fundamental understanding of electric fields, magnetic fields, and light. The twenty original...

Im Focus: Highly charged ion paves the way towards new physics

In a joint experimental and theoretical work performed at the Heidelberg Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, an international team of physicists detected for the first time an orbital crossing in the highly charged ion Pr⁹⁺. Optical spectra were recorded employing an electron beam ion trap and analysed with the aid of atomic structure calculations. A proposed nHz-wide transition has been identified and its energy was determined with high precision. Theory predicts a very high sensitivity to new physics and extremely low susceptibility to external perturbations for this “clock line” making it a unique candidate for proposed precision studies.

Laser spectroscopy of neutral atoms and singly charged ions has reached astonishing precision by merit of a chain of technological advances during the past...

Im Focus: Ultrafast stimulated emission microscopy of single nanocrystals in Science

The ability to investigate the dynamics of single particle at the nano-scale and femtosecond level remained an unfathomed dream for years. It was not until the dawn of the 21st century that nanotechnology and femtoscience gradually merged together and the first ultrafast microscopy of individual quantum dots (QDs) and molecules was accomplished.

Ultrafast microscopy studies entirely rely on detecting nanoparticles or single molecules with luminescence techniques, which require efficient emitters to...

Im Focus: How to induce magnetism in graphene

Graphene, a two-dimensional structure made of carbon, is a material with excellent mechanical, electronic and optical properties. However, it did not seem suitable for magnetic applications. Together with international partners, Empa researchers have now succeeded in synthesizing a unique nanographene predicted in the 1970s, which conclusively demonstrates that carbon in very specific forms has magnetic properties that could permit future spintronic applications. The results have just been published in the renowned journal Nature Nanotechnology.

Depending on the shape and orientation of their edges, graphene nanostructures (also known as nanographenes) can have very different properties – for example,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The Future of Work

03.12.2019 | Event News

First International Conference on Agrophotovoltaics in August 2020

15.11.2019 | Event News

Laser Symposium on Electromobility in Aachen: trends for the mobility revolution

15.11.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supporting structures of wind turbines contribute to wind farm blockage effect

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Chinese team makes nanoscopy breakthrough

13.12.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Tiny quantum sensors watch materials transform under pressure

13.12.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>