Navigation Links
Anthrax cellular entry point uncovered

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. The long-sought-after biological gateway that anthrax uses to enter healthy cells has been uncovered by microbiologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Anthrax spores enter the cell through something called Mac-1, a receptor that sits on the surface of certain cells.

This is the first study to uncover exactly how the bacteria get inside cells to begin with, the UAB researchers said. Previous studies have shown what happens after anthrax spores enter the body and wreak havoc.

Unraveling the anthrax-Mac-1 gateway is a milestone in the ongoing efforts to protect humans from bioterrorism and biological warfare, the UAB microbiologists said. Such a discovery will speed the development of new drugs and vaccines to fight or prevent anthrax infection, and advance the understanding of bacterial infection.

The findings are published in the online version of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and will soon appear in a print edition.

We know anthrax infection can occur in wild and domestic animals, but in humans this disease is extremely rare and very dangerous. It is a bioweapon, said John Kearney, Ph.D., a professor in the UAB Department of Microbiology and co-author on the study. This study reveals the biological paradigm that makes the anthrax spore clever enough to target the Mac-1 receptor, and use this entry point to boost its lethality.

Bacillus anthracis infection occurs in three forms: cutaneous (skin), inhalation and through swallowing spores. The skin infection is the most common type and can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed rapidly.

The more serious form is inhalation anthrax, which was diagnosed in a few adults during the anthrax scare after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States.

In the UAB study, researchers worked under strict bio-safe conditions to infect cultures of cells and laboratory-bred mice with a strain of anthrax often used in research.

Infection rates and other observations were significant enough to convince the microbiologists anthrax relies on Mac-1 to do its damage inside healthy cells.

By showing how anthrax spores recognize Mac-1 receptors, this discovery points toward a precise entry point which B. anthracis uses to proliferate and trigger lethal consequences, said Claudia Oliva, Ph.D., and Melissa Swiecki, Ph.D., both researchers in the UAB Department of Microbiology and co-lead authors on the study.


Contact: Troy Goodman
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Related biology news :

1. Using carbon nanotubes to seek and destroy anthrax toxin and other harmful proteins
2. Team IDs weakness in anthrax bacteria
3. Bioengineers at University of Pennsylvania devise nanoscale system to measure cellular forces
4. Boston College profs study oxidative stress subcellular to discover its role in diseases
5. Studying component parts of living cells with carbon nanotube cellular probes
6. Story ideas from Molecular & Cellular Proteomics
7. e-Science points to pollution solutions
8. Salmon garnish points the way to green electronics
9. NIH awards UC $9 million grant to improve patient point-of-care technologies
10. Research points towards early cancer detection
11. New thoracic imaging approach can pinpoint underlying venous problems
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... Pressure BioSciences, Inc. (OTCQB: PBIO) ("PBI" and ... of broadly enabling, pressure cycling technology ("PCT")-based sample preparation ... it has received gross proceeds of $745,000 from an ... "Offering"), increasing the total amount raised to date in ... are expected in the near future. ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   Growing ... reliable analytical tools has been paving the way ... qualitative determination of discrete analytes in clinical, agricultural, ... are being predominantly used in medical applications, however, ... environmental sectors due to continuous emphasis on improving ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 09, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the addition of the "Global ... to their offering. --> ... "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Twist Bioscience, a company ... Leproust, Ph.D., Twist Bioscience chief executive officer, will ... on December 1, 2015 at 3:10 p.m. Eastern ... City. --> --> ... Twist Bioscience is on Twitter. Sign up to ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015 Capricor Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... discovery, development and commercialization of first-in-class therapeutics, today announced ... is scheduled to present at the 2015 Piper Jaffray ... EST, at The Lotte New York Palace Hotel in ... . --> . ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 According to two new studies, fewer ... is something that many doctors, scientists, and public health experts ... with fewer PSA tests being done, will there be more ... Dr. David Samadi, "Despite the efforts made in regards ... second leading cancer cause of death in men, killing approximately ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Noblis, Inc., a leading provider of science, technology, and strategy ... Intelligence Agency (NGA), has joined the Noblis NSP team as President of the organization. ... community and the private sector,” said L. Roger Mason, Jr., Ph.D. , Senior ...
Breaking Biology Technology: