A team including researchers at the Total Defense Research Institute, NBC Defense, in Umeå, Sweden, and the Department of Molecular Biology, Umeå University, are publishing in this week’s issue of Science new findings that show that the protein Ymt is of crucial importance for the capacity of the plague bacterium to survive and spread the plague via flea vectors. Professor Åke Forsberg and visiting researcher Dr. Peter Cherepanov are studying the properties that enable the plague bacterium Yersinia pestis to cause life-threatening infections in animals and humans. Increased knowledge of the mechanisms that Y. pestis exploits to conquer the body’s immune defense can make it possible to develop new methods of treatment for serious infectious diseases.
Historically, the plague is one of our most feared infectious diseases. During the most wide-spread epidemic in the middle ages, also known as the Black Death, more than 25% of the European population died. Today the disease is not very common, with some 2,000 cases per year. The plague occurs primarily in Africa and Asia, but there are also a few cases in North America every year.
The bacteria are normally spread by fleas, first of all to rodents. Humans can also be infected by fleas. When the disease reaches the lungs of a human, the infection can be spread through the air to other people. The onset of the disease is rapid, with a high temperature and a headache. There is often an enlargement of the lymph glands located near the back of the jaw, which explains why it is also called the bubonic plague. Untreated, the infection quickly reaches the blood, leading to general blood poisoning. Mortality for untreated bubonic plague is over 50%. If the infection is spread by the air to the lungs, the course of the disease is even more rapid, and mortality for untreated lung plague is virtually 100%. The high rate of mortality, together with the rapid progression of the disease, places plague bacteria among those considered for use as a biological weapon.
Ulrika Bergfors Kriström | alphagalileo
Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University
Direct conversion of non-neuronal cells into nerve cells
03.07.2018 | Universitätsmedizin der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Event News
13.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
13.07.2018 | Life Sciences