Navigation Links
Texas A&M Researchers Examine How Viruses Destroy Bacteria
Date:11/18/2009

Viruses are well known for attacking humans and animals, but some viruses instead attack bacteria. Texas A&M University researchers are exploring how hungry viruses, armed with transformer-like weapons, attack bacteria, which may aid in the treatment of bacterial infections.

The Texas A&M researchers' work is published in the renowned journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

The attackers are called phages, or bacteriophages, meaning eaters of bacteria.

The word bacteriophage is derived from the Greek "phagein," meaning eater of bacteria.

"The phages first attach to the bacteria and then inject their DNA," says Sun Qingan, coauthor of the article and a doctoral student at Texas A&M. "Then they reproduce inside the cell cytoplasm."

After more than 100 phage particles have been assembled, the next step is to be released from the bacterial host, so that the progeny virions can find other hosts and repeat the reproduction cycle, Sun adds.

Besides the cell membrane, the phages have another obstacle on their way out a hard shell called cell wall that protects the bacteria. Only by destroying the cell wall can the phages release their offspring.

But, don't worry. The phages have a secret weapon an enzyme that can destroy the wall from inside, thus called endolysin.

"One of the special examples, R21, remains inactive when it is first synthesized and attached to the membrane as demonstrated in our paper," Sun explains. "But when the enzyme leaves the membrane, it restructures just like a transformer and gains the power to destroy the cell wall."

The trigger controlling the transformation process is a segment of the enzyme call the SAR domain, according to the Texas A&M team.

"The SAR domain is like the commander it tells the enzyme when to begin restructuring and destroying the cell wall," he says. "This finding enables us to better understand the release process and provides us with a possible target when we want to control the destruction of bacteria cell walls or prohibit this action in some infectious diseases."

Some research has been conducted to explore the possibility of using phages to kill bacteria and thus treating bacterial infections.

Sun and colleagues' finding unveils one secret of the phages and may be useful in phage therapy and other applications.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sun Qingan
q-sun@neo.tamu.edu
979-862-7639
Texas A&M University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Texas researchers and educators head for Antarctica
2. Ceres and Texas A&M to develop and market high-biomass sorghum for biofuels
3. Gulf of Mexico dead zone to be studied by University of Texas at Austin marine scientists
4. UT Southwestern scientist honored among best in Texas research
5. Rices West honored as one of Texas best researchers
6. Texas Hospital nations first to use large-scale cocoon strategy against whooping cough
7. Texas A&M testing oral contraceptives for animals
8. Texas A&M scientists say early Americans arrived earlier
9. Researchers confirm dead zone off Texas coast since 1985
10. Underwater microscope helps prevent shellfish poisoning along Gulf Coast of Texas
11. UTMB inventions win University of Texas System commercialization awards
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/8/2016)... and MANCHESTER, United Kingdom , Jan. ... developer of innovative sensor-based diagnostic products, today announced the closing ... new and existing investors.  Proceeds from the financing will be ... , a hand-held device for detecting early-stage pressure ulcers. ... Ireland after receiving CE Mark approval. The device,s ...
(Date:1/7/2016)... NEW YORK , Jan. 7, 2016 ... as regional markets for biometric technologies and devices, identifying ... application market for various types of biometric devices. Includes ... report to: Identify newer markets and explore the ... of biometric devices. Examine each type of biometric technology, ...
(Date:1/7/2016)... , Jan. 7, 2016  A United States ... the first court in the country to interpret a ... lawsuit to go forward against the photo website Shutterfly ... BRIAN NORBERG vs. SHUTTERFLY, INC.; and ... plaintiff alleges that Shutterfly violates the Illinois Biometric Privacy ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/4/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments will showcase several new ... poster sessions, and present on the analysis of mycotoxins and medical cannabis at ... 10 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. , Attendees ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... , Feb. 4, 2016 Beike Biotechnology, the ... medical institutions attended a ceremony in late 2015 to ... cell therapy in 2016. --> ... Translation Platform for Personalized Cell Therapy" was hosted by ... Production Center, both subsidiaries of Beike Biotechnology Co., Ltd. ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... VANCOUVER, British Columbia and MENLO PARK, ... Inc. (OTCQX: DMPI) ("DelMar" and the "Company"), a biopharmaceutical ... therapies, today announced that it will present at the ... on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST in ... Jeffrey Bacha , DelMar,s president and CEO, will provide an ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... 2016 ContraVir Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTRV ... commercialization of targeted antiviral therapies, announced today that it ... to be held February 8-9, 2016, at the Waldorf ... Growth & Healthcare Conference, taking place in ... James Sapirstein , Chief Executive Officer of ContraVir, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: