Each year 170,000 people around the world die of this type of meningitis, according to the World Health Organization, WHO. Bacterial meningitis, as the disease is called, can even spark epidemics: in Africa 250,000 people were affected in a matter of weeks in the late 1990s. Without treatment, mortality among those who contract the disease is 85-90 percent, with treatment some 10-15 percent. Patients also run a high risk of serious disability after recovery.
Only humans are susceptible to infection from meningococci. In its modeling system Ann-Beth Jonsson’s research team therefore used mice that produce the human receptor that the bacteria bind to. Marking the bacteria to emit light, the scientists used cameras to monitor their activities in the living mice during the course of the disease.
“The bacteria are almost knocked out by the immune defense system, but then they resurge, this time with alterations in the surface protein. What’s more, we discovered that the bacteria aggregate in the thyroid and can impact hormone production during the infection,” says Ann-Beth Jonsson.
The study also shows that bacteria that lack a certain adhesin (the protein that the bacteria cells use to adhere to the receptors) could not attach to mucous linings.
Thanks to the new system the research team has developed, it is now possible to rapidly and effectively monitor the function of various vaccine candidates and new drugs, obviating the numerous costly and time-consuming tests that have been necessary until now. At the same time, the system provides a clear picture of the process of infection.
“With these findings as tools, we can continue to study the course of the disease and test vaccines on living organisms. Moreover we will be able to find new strategies for improving the prognoses for those who are affected by meningococcus disorders,” says Ann-Beth Jonsson.
Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection
13.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung
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...
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...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
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...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding