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:2/8/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017 Report Highlights ... by 2021 from $8.3 billion in 2016 at a ... to 2021. Report Includes - An overview of ... market trends, with data from 2015 and 2016, and ... - Segmentation of the market on the basis of ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... , February 7, 2017 Ipsidy ... Solutions Corporation [OTC: IDGS], ("Ipsidy" or the "Company") a ... transaction processing services, is pleased to announce the following ... Effective January 31, 2017, Philip D. ... Directors, CEO and President.  An experienced payment industry professional ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... A new independent identity strategy consultancy firm announces its ... to fill a critical niche in technical and policy ... Mark Crego and Janice Kephart together ... that span federal governments, the 9/11 Commission, private industry, ... has a common theme born from a shared passion ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/18/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... The ... and the Center for International Blood & Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) will take ... , The combined scientific sessions offer investigators, clinicians, laboratory technicians, clinical ...
(Date:2/17/2017)...  BioGenex, a global leader in molecular pathology, ... system for quantitative immunohistochemistry (IHC). The system was ... (NY, USA) and Konica-Minolta Inc. ( Tokyo, ... to accurately quantify the expression of an important ... receptor-2) in clinical samples. Quantitative IHC is achieved ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... ... February 16, 2017 , ... EIT Digital has launched ... the agricultural industry. Pilot studies are about to get under way for the framework, ... and 5G innovations. The concept is expected to be transferred eventually to other industries ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... Feb. 16, 2017  MDNA Life Sciences Inc. ... of liquid biopsy tests based on the mitochondrial ... exclusive license agreement with its first international commercial ... biopsy test for prostate cancer, the Prostate Mitomic ... . This is the first overseas appointment for ...
Breaking Biology Technology: