Two wildly different pathogens – one that infects vegetables, the other infecting humans - essentially use the same protein code to get their disease-causing proteins into the cells of their respective hosts.
Thats what researchers from Ohio State and Northwestern universities report in a study published in the current issue of the journal PLoS Pathogens. The scientists were surprised to learn that the pathogen that causes malaria in humans and the microbe that caused the Irish potato famine use identical protein signals to start an infection.
“I dont think anyone expected this,” said Sophien Kamoun, a study co-author and an associate professor of plant pathology at Ohio States Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster. “These are very different pathogens, and we never realized that there might be some similarities between them.”
Sophien Kamoun | EurekAlert!
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Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
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