The team of researchers, including Magdalene “Maggie” So, a member of the BIO5 Institute and the department of immunobiology in the UA College of Medicine, studied Type IV pili – or filaments – on the surface of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium that causes the infectious disease gonorrhea.
The research results help them understand the role that Type IV pili play in initiating a variety of infectious diseases – including tuberculosis – and how retracting pili allow bacteria to crawl and to exchange genes with each other.
When a bundle of Type IV pili retracts, it pulls with a force in the nanoNewton range, which is 10 times the force of a single retracting filament. The study demonstrates the power and cooperative nature of the nanomotors that cause Type IV pili to retract.
“The motor that causes these filaments to pull is one of the strongest nanomotors known in biology,” So said.
In previous studies, the same group of investigators measured single filament retraction forces in the 50 to 100 picoNewton range. This force allows the bacterium to move an object 10,000 times its own body weight. Retraction forces from a bundle are roughly 10 times higher, allowing the bacterium to move objects 100,000 times its body weight.
Pilus retraction forces are an important factor in how N. gonorrhoeae starts an infection. So, who has studied these microbes for more than 20 years, says N. gonorrhoeae communicates with a human cell by pulling on it. These pulling forces perturb the normal circuitry of the cell. As a result, the infected cell is fooled into lowering its defenses against the infecting microbe.
So said that the team of investigators came up with a new method to measure the tremendous forces applied by retracting pili. They allow bacteria to sit on a dense brushwork of tiny elastic pillars. The pili attach to these pillars. When pili retract, they bend the pillars. By measuring how the pillars bend, the investigators calculate the retraction forces.
Deborah Daun | EurekAlert!
Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland
Protein involved in nematode stress response identified
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy