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:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017 The report "Gesture Recognition ... Biometric), Industry, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... a CAGR of 29.63% between 2017 and 2022. ... ... ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... 21, 2017 Vigilant Solutions , a ... enforcement agencies, announced today the appointment of retired FBI ... public safety business development. Mr. Sheridan brings ... including a focus on the aviation transportation sector, to ... position, Mr. Sheridan served as the Aviation Liaison Agent ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... Future of security: Biometric Face Matching software  ... ... enables to match face pictures against each other or against large databases. The ... ... fastest software for biometric Face Matching on the market. The speed is at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... , March 23, 2017  Agriculture technology company ... A financing and note conversion to commercialize its Cool ... is focused on developing products that are simultaneously profitable ... million in the last 18 months. This latest round ... Bridge Venture Partners. The company,s primary ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... -- Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN), today announced a major ... and GSK to generate genetic sequence data from the 500,000 ... enable researchers to gain valuable insights to support advances in ... serious and life threatening diseases. ... Genetic evidence has revolutionized scientific ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 22, 2017  UBM and the Massachusetts ... their extended partnership and the third annual Massachusetts Medtech ... the 21 st Annual MassMEDIC Conference held ... May 3-4, 2017. MassMEDIC will ... (ADVAMED) President and CEO, Scott Whitaker , ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... March 22, 2017   iSpecimen ®, the ... Doctors Pathology Service (DPS), a full-service anatomic ... the United States , has joined a ... Information Network (DHIN) to make human biospecimens and ... The novel program, announced in 2015 as a collaboration ...
Breaking Biology Technology: