Navigation Links
Experiment finds ulcer bug's Achilles' heel

Experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have revealed a potential new way to attack common stomach bacteria that cause ulcers and significantly increase the odds of developing stomach cancer.

The breakthrough, made using powerful X-rays from SLAC's Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL), was the culmination of five years of research into the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which is so tough it can live in strong stomach acid. At least half the world's population carries H. pylori and hundreds of millions suffer health problems as a result; current treatments require a complicated regimen of stomach-acid inhibitors and antibiotics.

"We were looking for a means to disrupt H. pylori's own mechanism for protecting itself against stomach acid," said Hartmut "Hudel" Luecke, a researcher at the University of California, Irvine, and principal investigator on the paper, published online Dec. 9 in Nature. With this study, he said, "We have deciphered the three-dimensional molecular structure of a very promising drug target."

Luecke and his team zeroed in on tiny channels that H. pylori uses to allow in urea from gastric juice in the stomach; it then breaks this compound into ammonia, which neutralizes stomach acid. Blocking the channels would disable this protective system, leading to a new treatment for people with the infection.

Solving the structure of the protein to find the specific area to target wasn't easy. The channels are formed by the protein embedded in the bacterium's cell membrane, and membrane proteins are notoriously difficult to crystallize, which is a prerequisite for using protein crystallography, the main technique for determining protein structures. This technique bounces X-rays off of the electrons in the crystallized protein to generate the experimental data used to build a 3-D map showing how the protein's atoms are arranged.

The challenge with membrane proteins is that they are especially hard to grow good quality crystals of, and for this experiment, said Luecke, "We needed to grow and screen thousands of crystals."

"We collected over 100 separate data sets and tried numerous structural determination techniques," said Mike Soltis, head of SSRL's Structural Molecular Biology division, who worked with Luecke and his team to create the 3-D map of the atomic structure. The final data set was measured at SSRL's highest brightness beam line (12-2), which produced the critical data that met the challenge.

"This is the hardest structure I've ever deciphered, and I've been doing this since 1984," Luecke said. "You have to try all kinds of tricks, and these crystals fought us every step of the way. But now that we have the structure, we've reached the exciting partthe prospect of creating specific, safe and effective ways to target this pathogen and wipe it out."


Contact: Andy Freeberg
DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Experiments may understate plant responses to climate
2. Foundational concept of ecology tested by experiment
3. Nicole George wins 2012 Journal of Experimental Biology Outstanding Paper Prize
4. MIT research: Study finds room to store CO2 underground
5. Study finds circle hooks lower catch rate for offshore anglers
6. LSUHSC research finds HPV-related head & neck cancers rising, highest in middle-aged white men
7. Head and body lice appear to be the same species, genetic study finds
8. Study finds peoples niceness may reside in their genes
9. Large international study finds memory in adults impacted by versions of 4 genes
10. Improved loblolly pines better for the environment, study finds
11. NIST/UMass study finds evidence nanoparticles may increase plant DNA damage
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Experiment finds ulcer bug's Achilles' heel
(Date:6/7/2016)... -- Syngrafii Inc. and San Antonio Credit Union (SACU) ... Syngrafii,s patented LongPen™ eSignature "Wet" solution into SACU,s ... in greater convenience for SACU members and operational ... document workflow and compliance requirements. Logo ... Highlights: ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... NEW YORK , June 1, 2016 ... Biometric Technology in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to ... According to a recently released TechSci Research report, " ... Sector, By Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - ... $ 24.8 billion by 2021, on account of growing ...
(Date:5/9/2016)... Elevay is currently known as ... for high net worth professionals seeking travel for work ... world, there is still no substitute for a face-to-face ... your deal with a firm handshake. This is why ... of citizenship via investment programs like those offered by ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge ... envision new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, ... Art (MoMA) in New York City ... 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published today ... a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an ... paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the NASDAQ ... Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to finish at ... has initiated coverage on the following equities: Infinity Pharmaceuticals ... NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARLZ ... Learn more about these stocks by accessing their free trade ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 22, 2016  Amgen (NASDAQ: ... the QB3@953 life sciences incubator to accelerate ... The shared laboratory space at QB3@953 was created to ... key obstacle for many early stage organizations - access ... the sponsorship, Amgen launched two "Amgen Golden Ticket" awards, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: