Navigation Links
Ant guts could pave the way for better drugs
Date:3/25/2008

Scientists have discovered two key proteins that guide one of the two groups of pathogenic bacteria to make their hardy outer shells -- their defense against the world.

The work, they said, could allow researchers to create new antibiotics against gram-negative bacteria, like E. coli and salmonella, that would destroy these bacteria by disabling the mechanism that produces their protective coating.

"A long-term goal is to find inhibitors of these proteins we have discovered," said Natividad Ruiz, a research molecular biologist at Princeton University and the lead author on the paper describing the work. "Small molecule inhibitors could become antibiotics that subvert the outer membrane."

The research, conducted by Ruiz, Thomas Silhavy, Princeton's Warner-Lambert Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology, and others from Harvard University, is described in the online edition of the April 8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The team discovered the proteins through an extended process of elimination. The scientists looked at microbes in the guts of carpenter ants. The bacteria, which have lived there for millions of years -- passed on over many generations -- have lost many of the traits necessary for survival in the outer world. As a result, their collection of genes, known as a genome, is far smaller and simpler than the genome of E. coli.

Scientists sequenced the genome of the model bacterium E. coli 11 years ago, yet they still do not understand the functions of about 40 percent of the thousands of proteins produced by those genes, according to Ruiz. Proteins are the workhorses of cells, directing and producing the creation of many key cell structures and functions.

In contrast, the genome of the bacteria found in the ant gut, Blochmannia floridanus, contains the instructions for only 583 proteins. Since the bacteria are closely related, nearly all of Blochmannia's genes -- 564 -- are found in E. coli. The scientists reasoned that they could find the protein containing the instructions for building the germ's outer casing.

"We designed a computer-based search that filtered out proteins that lacked the characteristics essential for outer membrane construction," Ruiz said. "In the end, only two of the 564 proteins remained."

They found the two missing proteins of a pathway that ferries one of the key components of the outer shell, called LPS, to the cell surface.

Members of Silhavy's laboratory use E. coli as a model system to better understand the workings of the cell, such as how it senses changes in its environment. Silhavy is a bacterial geneticist who has made fundamental contributions to the field of cell biology.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kitta MacPherson
kittamac@princeton.edu
609-258-5729
Princeton University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Newly created cancer stem cells could aid breast cancer research
2. Obesity and lack of exercise could enhance the risk of pancreatic cancer
3. Finding that 1-in-a-billion that could lead to disease
4. 60 second test could help early diagnosis of common brain diseases
5. Auto immune response creates barrier to fertility; could be a step in speciation
6. Paracetamol, one of most used analgesics, could slow down bone growth
7. Drug could improve pregnancy outcomes in wider range of women with insulin resistance
8. Thousands of starving children could be restored to health with peanut butter program
9. Nanotech could make solar energy as easy and cheap as growing grass
10. CO2 emissions could violate EPA ocean-quality standards within decades
11. MIT model could improve some drugs effectiveness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2016)... -- IMPOWER physicians supporting Medicaid patients in Central ... in telehealth thanks to a new partnership with higi. ... patients can routinely track key health measurements, such as ... when they opt in, share them with IMPOWER clinicians ... retail location at no cost. By leveraging this data, ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm ... of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who ... members of the original technical leadership team, including Chief ... President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President ... returned to the company. Dr. Bready served ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender ... das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals ... Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... , May 24, 2016   MedyMatch Technology Ltd ... with artificial intelligence, real-time decision support tools in the emergency ... at the 2016 Israeli Advanced Technology Industries (IATI) BioMed Conference. ... Israel,s 15th National Life Sciences and Technology ... the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Israel ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... ... May 24, 2016 , ... Media Cybernetics, global image ... Cybernetics corporate branding reflects a results-driven revitalization for a company with a renewed ... components include a crisp, refreshed logo and a new web presence. , “I ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... Willoughby, Ohio (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2016 ... ... Six Trends That Will Drive Precision Farming in 2017 and Beyond. The paper ... and practitioners in the precision ag industry. , “We’ve witnessed a lot of ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... England , May 23, 2016 ... May 25 th at 10:15 a.m. ET before the ... the role genetically engineered mosquitos can play in controlling the ... carrier of the Zika virus.      (Logo: ... engineered male mosquito with a self-limiting gene. Trials in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: