Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ulcer-Causing Pathogen Uses Hydrogen for Energy

03.12.2002


In a groundbreaking study, a North Carolina State University microbiologist has discovered that the bacteria associated with almost all human ulcers - one that is also correlated with the development of certain types of gastric cancer in humans - uses hydrogen as an energy source.



The finding is novel because most bacteria use sugars and other carbohydrates to grow, says Dr. Jonathan Olson, assistant professor of microbiology at NC State. The human pathogen Helicobacter pylori does not.

"No one has ever suspected hydrogen to be an energy source for pathogens," Olson said. "Now we have a whole new target for antibiotics for this particular bacteria."


The research is described in a paper published in the Friday, Nov. 29 edition of Science.

The study was performed at the University of Georgia, where Olson was a member of the research faculty before joining the microbiology faculty at NC State this summer. Dr. Robert J. Maier, a microbiologist at the University of Georgia, is a co-author of the paper. The work was supported by the Georgia Research Alliance.

H. pylori is only found in humans, Olson says. The bacteria infects greater than 50 percent of the world’s population, and persists until it is treated. If left untreated, the bacteria can give rise to ulcers and two different kinds of cancer.

H. pylori contains an enzyme - hydrogenase - that uses hydrogen as an energy source. "If we were to develop a drug to inhibit the hydrogenase enzyme, we could eradicate ulcers in humans," Olson says.

Using mice as a model, the scientists discovered that mice stomachs contained more than enough hydrogen to support the growth of H. pylori. The study showed that mice stomachs contained 10 to 50 times more hydrogen than the bacteria needs to grow.

Moreover, when the scientists created a mutant strain of H. pylori without hydrogenase, only 24 percent of these mutants colonized in mice, as opposed to 100 percent of the parent strain that was able to utilize hydrogen, Olson says. The mutants that did colonize in mice also had lower levels of bacteria, he says.

Hydrogenase is a complicated enzyme that is not made by humans. Olson says that finding an antibiotic that is specifically targeted to inhibit the enzyme shouldn’t be toxic to other human enzymes. However, no compounds that specifically inhibit hydrogenase currently exist, so the development of such a drug will come later rather than sooner, Olson says.

Because not many bacteria use hydrogen to grow, Olson and Maier are among a small fraternity of scientists who study bacterial hydrogen utilization. Most of these bacteria exist in hydrogen-rich environments, Olson says, mainly in agricultural areas.

Olson’s lab at NC State is presently studying a hydrogen-utilizing bacteria that is the most common cause of food poisoning.

Dr. Jonathan Olson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/02_12/316.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Infants later diagnosed with autism follow adults’ gaze, but seldom initiate joint attention
24.05.2019 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

nachricht When wheels and heads are spinning - DFG research project on motion sickness in automated driving
22.05.2019 | Technische Universität Berlin

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Colliding lasers double the energy of proton beams

Researchers from Sweden's Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg present a new method which can double the energy of a proton beam produced by laser-based particle accelerators. The breakthrough could lead to more compact, cheaper equipment that could be useful for many applications, including proton therapy.

Proton therapy involves firing a beam of accelerated protons at cancerous tumours, killing them through irradiation. But the equipment needed is so large and...

Im Focus: New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature

A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

AI and high-performance computing extend evolution to superconductors

27.05.2019 | Information Technology

Meteor magnets in outer space

27.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Coat of proteins makes viruses more infectious and links them to Alzheimer's disease

27.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>