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Discovery of how a gene that regulates factors involved in bacteria pathogenicity acts
Date:6/14/2013

er, who is of Iranian origin, has studied the mechanism of the action of the glgS gene in Escherichia coli bacteria and in various Salmonella species, which in certain cases can cause diseases and acute symptoms in humans.

Glycogen is a reserve material that bacteria can avail themselves of. The team's researchers led by Prof Pozueta had previously identified and characterised the genes directly involved in glycogen production in E. coli. Contrary to what was believed, they were able to prove that the glgS gene did not play a part in this process. So what was it for? This was the subject of Mehdi Rahimpour's PhD thesis.

To immobilise bacteria

To understand the way in which the glgS gene acts, you have to bear in mind the structure of bacteria. As the researcher points out, bacteria have something akin to oars or arms (flagella) that are used for moving; they also have some appendices called fimbriae which enable them to stick or adhere to the cells which host them; and a protective capsule or shield made up of polysaccharides. To create all these elements and to enable the bacteria to move, they need energy (provided by the ATP molecule) and sugar. "GlgS acts as a brake," points out Rahimpour. We realised that by altering the expression of the glgS, the creation of these structures is altered and, indirectly, the production of glycogen because it also needs sugar and energy. In circumstances in which the creation of flagella and components of the capsule is boosted, the bacteria consume large quantities of energy to move as well as sugars, so they will not have sufficient raw material available to produce glycogen. And vice versa: in circumstances in which the creation of flagella, fimbriae and components of the capsule is repressed, the bacteria will lose their capacity to move and become adhered to surfaces, and the surplus of energy and sugar will be devoted to producing glycogen.

In short, the resea
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Contact: Oihane Lakar Iraizoz
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Elhuyar Fundazioa
Source:Eurekalert

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