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Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers identify structure that allows bacteria to resist drugs
Date:9/23/2010

ter for Bioinformatics and Biological Statistics; Kanagalaghatta Rajashankar, the operations team leader for the Northeastern Collaborative Access Team facility at Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill., that's managed by Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.; Iowa State post-doctoral researchers Feng Long and Chih-Chia Su; and Iowa State graduate students Michael Zimmermann and Scott Boyken.

"This work reports the first detailed structure of a unique heavy metal transporter that enables bacteria to survive the toxic effects of silver and copper," said Jean Chin, Ph.D., who oversees this and other structural biology grants at the National Institutes of Health. "By detailing the exact steps that a metal ion is likely to take through the transporter, this study suggests how we might block the pathway and render pathogenic bacteria sensitive to heavy metal toxins."

Yu, who has been studying bacterial resistance to antibiotics for nearly a decade, said direct information about how bacteria handle heavy-metal toxins is important information for biomedical researchers.

"We want to understand the mechanisms of these heavy-metal pumps," he said. "And that could allow biotechnology researchers to make inhibitors to stop the pump and the antibiotic resistance."


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Contact: Edward Yu
ewyu@iastate.edu
515-294-4955
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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