Navigation Links
Superbugs may have a soft spot, after all

The overuse of antibiotics has created strains of bacteria resistant to medication, making the diseases they cause difficult to treat, or even deadly. But now a research team at the University of Rochester has identified a weakness in at least one superbug that scientists may be able to medically exploit.

Biologists Gloria Culver at Rochester and Keith Connolly, now at Harvard University, thought one key to stopping the bacteria may lie with proteins, so they studied the mechanism behind the development of bacterial ribosomesthe cell's protein-manufacturing machine.

"We targeted the ribosomes in our research because cells and organisms can't live if they don't make proteins, and they can't make proteins if their ribosomes aren't functioning properly." said Culver.

Culver and Connolly specifically worked with cultures of E. coli, a bacteria commonly found in the intestines. While E. coli is usually harmless, some strains are resistant to antibiotics and can cause serious food poisoning.

They discovered that two proteins already present in E. coli cellsRbfA and KsgAneed to be in balance with each other in order for ribosomes to function. If those proteins are present in the wrong concentrations, the ribosomes will not mature properly and will be unable to produce proteins, leading to the death of the cells. Their findings are being published this week in the journal Molecular Microbiology.

Culver said with the discovery that KsgA and RbfA.must be balanced for the cells to function properly, the next goal is to determine an effective way to disrupt that balance.

Crucially, RbfA does not exist in humans. "That may make it possible," Culver said," to kill E. coli without having a harmful effect on people."

Eric Brown, a professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., calls their work creative and scholarly. "Ribosome assembly represents a rich target for much needed antibacterial drugs to treat drug-resistant infections," said Brown, "and this work offers new and important insights into the process."

Culver explained the role the proteins play in ribosome maturation. A healthy ribosome is made up of two compartmentsor subunitsthat must come together only when each one is mature. An overabundance of RbfA hurries the process along, which could result in an ineffective structure. The job of the KsgA is to bind with the smaller of the compartments, preventing the formation of the ribosome until both parts are ready.

Culver says RbfA and KsgA belong to "the chicken or the egg" category of microbiology. While they're essential to the development of ribosomes, the ribosomes themselves are needed to create proteins, including the RbfA and KsgA. She calls it an ongoing and intriguing question for biologists.


Contact: Peter Iglinski
University of Rochester

Related biology news :

1. Hunt for superbugs in Australian animals
2. Hydrogen peroxide vapor enhances hospital disinfection of superbugs
3. 1 year after Fukushima
4. AGU: Venice hasnt stopped sinking after all
5. Black flies may have a purpose after all
6. Estrogen hormone reveals protective ability after traumatic brain injury
7. Obstructive sleep apneas damage evident after 1 month
8. Scientists read the ash from the Icelandic volcano 2 years after its eruption
9. Microbial communities shifted dramatically after Deepwater Horizon spill
10. Regenerated cells may restore vision after corneal dysfunction
11. Cinega de Santa Clara unchanged after pilot run of Yuma Desalting Plant
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/9/2015)... , Nov. 09, 2015 ... addition of the "Global Law Enforcement ... offering. --> ) has ... Law Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report ... and Markets ( ) has announced ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Calif. , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. ... new report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned ... the Department of Health and Human Services guidance for ... in 2010. --> ... it also has the potential to pose unique biosecurity ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... 2015 Today, LifeBEAM , a ... 2XU, a global leader in technical performance sports ... with advanced bio-sensing technology. The hat will allow ... key biometrics to improve overall training performance. As ... will bring together the most advanced technology, extensive ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... England , November 26, 2015 ... innovative medical device company specializing in imaging technologies, announced today ... European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 European Union ... carry out a large-scale clinical trial in breast cancer. ... (Logo: , --> --> ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced  today that its ... (Rights Plan) in an effort to preserve the value ... 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). ... its NOLs could be substantially limited if the Company ... of the Code. In general, an ownership change occurs ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Studies reveal the differences in ... pave the way for more effective treatment for one of ...   --> --> Gum ... in cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria ... been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, ... Kevin Gorman , President and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, ... Healthcare Conference in New York . ... to visit the website approximately 5 minutes prior to ... A replay of the presentation will be available on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: