Navigation Links
Scientists discover how deadly fungal microbes enter host cells
Date:7/23/2010

A research team led by scientists at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI) at Virginia Tech has discovered a fundamental entry mechanism that allows dangerous fungal microbes to infect plants and cause disease. The discovery paves the way for the development of new intervention strategies to protect plant, and even some animal cells, from deadly fungal infections. The findings are published in the July 23 edition of the journal Cell.

The researchers have revealed how special disease-related proteins, known as effectors, blaze a trail into cells. Fungi and fungal-like microbes known as oomycetes produce effector molecules that penetrate cells and switch off the host's defense system. Once the host's immune system has been disabled, the fungus or oomycete swiftly follows up, breaking and entering the cell and unleashing disease.

The pathogens in question, which include the microbe that caused the Irish potato famine in the nineteenth century, cause billions of dollars of losses for commercial farmers worldwide in crops such as soybean. They are also responsible for potentially fatal infectious diseases in humans.

Said Brett Tyler, professor at VBI and the leader of the project, "Our breakthrough finding is that these dangerous disease-causing proteins must bind a specific lipid molecule found on the cell surface before they can enter the cell."

In a previous study, Tyler and other researchers had pinpointed specific regions of the effector proteins that are intimately involved in breaking and entry of the cell. The new study shows that these regions on the effector proteins bind the lipid phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate and that this binding is essential for the proteins to enter the cells. Adds Tyler, "The nasty proteins enter by hitching a ride on a lipid raft, a region of the cell's outer membrane that can be internalized by the cell. The lipid acts as a bridge between the effector protein and the raft, and in doing so help to unlock the door for entry of the disease-causing proteins into the cell."

Intriguingly, the researchers have also identified two methods to block the entry process that could lead to new disease interventions against infection in medicine and agriculture. Shiv Kale, a graduate student at VBI and one of the lead authors on the study, remarked: "We were able to block the entry process of the disease-related proteins using two types of inhibitors. The first group of inhibitors covers the lipid so that the pathogen cannot get access to it. The second jams the site on the protein that normally binds the lipid."

The scientists were also able to show that the entry process into some human cells takes place by the same mechanism. Said VBI Associate Professor Chris Lawrence, who collaborated on the study, "Our finding that the entry of the effectors into human cells can be blocked with small molecules suggest that it may be possible to find new strategies to combat several debilitating human diseases, in addition to treating plant diseases."


'/>"/>
Contact: Barry Whyte
whyte@vbi.vt.edu
540-231-1767
Virginia Tech
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Jefferson scientists deliver toxic genes to effectively kill pancreatic cancer cells
2. Scientists identify novel inhibitor of human microRNA
3. Argonne scientists peer into heart of compound that may detect chemical, biological weapons
4. MU scientists go green with gold, distribute environmentally friendly nanoparticles
5. Scientists identify gene that may contribute to improved rice yield
6. Scientists discover why a mothers high-fat diet contributes to obesity in her children
7. MU scientists see how HIV matures into an infection
8. Earth scientists keep an eye on Texas
9. Thinking it through: Scientists call for policy to guide biofuels industry toward sustainability
10. Scientists identify a molecule that coordinates the movement of cells
11. Scientists Find new migratory patterns for Mediterranean and Western Atlantic bluefin tuna
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards and Mr. ... the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive Officer said," ... and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we move forward ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... Today HYPR Corp. , leading innovator ... of the HYPR platform is officially FIDO® Certified ... architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune 500 enterprises ... over 15 million users across the financial services industry, ... product suites and physical access represent a growing portion ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... , April 3, 2017  Data captured ... engineering platform, detected a statistically significant association ... prior to treatment and objective response of ... potential to predict whether cancer patients will ... treatment, as well as to improve both pre-infusion ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... April 18, 2017 , ... Optofluidics today ... move comes after the company changed focus to making analytical tools for biopharmaceutical ... our new technology,” says CEO Robert Hart. Founders Bernardo Cordovez, Robert Hart and ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... April 19, 2017 , ... As ... educational webinars accessible to novices as well as experienced users, attendees will gain ... performed coagulation screening tests. , Hemostasis testing quality is determined by preanalytical ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 ... today announced that it will report its first ... on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Following the announcement, Veracyte,s management will ... p.m. Eastern Time to discuss the company,s financial results ... and subsequent replay may be accessed by visiting Veracyte,s website ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... ... April 18, 2017 , ... For a historic seventh ... in the VaxCorps vaccine consortium, were named one of the top two Clinical Research ... inception of this category; winning the award four times previously, and first runner up ...
Breaking Biology Technology: