Navigation Links
Overcoming anthrax bacterium's natural defenses could hold key to new treatments
Date:5/18/2010

Army scientists have discovered a way to "trick" the bacterium that causes anthrax into shedding its protective covering, making it easier for the body's immune system to mount a defense. The study, which appears in this month's issue of the journal MICROBIOLOGY, could lead to new approaches for treating anthrax infection.

Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is particularly lethal because of its protective coating, or capsule, which enables the pathogen to escape destruction by the host's immune system. A key bacterial enzyme called capsule depolymerase, or CapD, anchors the capsule to the cell surface. CapD also cuts and releases part of the capsule into small fragments that are thought to interfere with specific parts of the immune system, offering further protection to the bacterium. The rest of the capsule remains intact.

Finding a way to cause B. anthracis to unmask itself, using the bacterium's own machinery, would be a novel approach to defeating the pathogen. So scientists at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) induced B. anthracis to make higher-than-normal amounts of CapD, resulting in release of the capsule fragments. This left very little capsule attached to the bacterial cells. As a result, the unprotected bacteria were left vulnerable to immediate detection and destruction by the cells of the immune system.

"By engineering B. anthracis to over-produce CapD, we are effectively turning the bacterium's own weapon on itself," explained Dr. Arthur Friedlander, one of the study's principal investigators. He believes the USAMRIID group's findings could have significant clinical impact.

"Many pathogenic bacteria, including B. anthracis, produce a capsule surrounding them that prevents the infected host from killing them, improving their chances of causing disease," he explained. "Understanding the mechanisms of virulence used by the anthrax bacterium is vital to developing medical countermeasures against it."

Anthrax most commonly occurs in wild and domestic mammals, although it has the potential to be used as a biological threat agent. Symptoms vary depending on the route of exposure; however, mild fever, fatigue and muscle aches usually begin within 4-6 days of exposure. As the bacteria multiply in the lymph nodes, toxemia progresses and the potential for widespread tissue dissemination, destruction and organ failure increases. Severe breathing difficulty, meningitis and shock can follow. Up to 90 percent of untreated cases of inhalational anthrax result in death.

"This study provides significant insight into the pathogenesis of anthrax infection, tracing the connection between B. anthracis gene expression to its effect on host response," said Colonel John P. Skvorak, commander of USAMRIID.


'/>"/>

Contact: Caree Vander Linden
Caree.VanderLinden@us.army.mil
301-619-2285
US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Overcoming Taboos, Myths, and Dogmas in Bioethics
2. Einstein scientists move closer to a safer anthrax vaccine
3. Single host gene may hold key to treating both ebola and anthrax infections
4. Early detection and quick response are key to defense against anthrax attack
5. Data published in the New England Journal of Medicine support use of raxibacumab (ABthrax) for the treatment of inhalation anthrax
6. Novel handheld device detects anthrax with outstanding accuracy and reliability
7. New technique used to profile anthrax genome
8. FBI unveils science of anthrax investigation
9. NIST, Army researchers pave the way for anthrax spore standards
10. New decontamination system kills anthrax rapidly without lingering effects
11. Anthrax cellular entry point uncovered
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/3/2017)... WASHINGTON , April 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... single-cell precision engineering platform, detected a statistically ... cell product prior to treatment and objective ... highlight the potential to predict whether cancer ... prior to treatment, as well as to ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... the health IT company that operates the largest health ... today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross BlueShield ... investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create the ... activities through the collection and workflow integration of ambient ... secures data today on behalf of over 36 million ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... DUBLIN , Mar 24, 2017 Research ... Vehicle Access System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to ... ... poised to grow at a CAGR of around 15.1% over the ... This industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first ... eye at a time. So which eye do you rinse first if a dangerous substance ... Plum Duo Eye Wash with its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... and LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. , Oct. ... Cancer Research, London (ICR) and University ... SKY92, SkylineDx,s prognostic tool to risk-stratify patients with multiple myeloma ... MUK nine . The University of Leeds ... partly funded by Myeloma UK, and ICR will perform the ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... San Diego-based team building and ... rebranding initiative announced today. The bold new look is part of a transformation ... moves into a significant growth period. , It will also expand its service offering ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017 International research firm Parks Associates announced ... at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in ... residential home security market and how smart safety and security products impact ... Parks Associates: Smart Home ... "The residential security market has ...
Breaking Biology Technology: