Navigation Links
Solution to bacterial mystery promises new drugs

A 25-year quest to identify the first biochemical step that many disease-causing bacteria use to build their membranes has led to a discovery that holds promise for effective, new antibiotics against these bacteria, according to investigators at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The finding is significant because the biochemical step the antibiotic would block is not used by humans. Therefore, such a drug would not cause dangerous side effects.

A report on this finding appears in the September 1 issue of Molecular Cell.

The discovery also demonstrated that current textbooks use the wrong type of bacterium as a model to explain a critical biochemical step that most disease-causing bacteria use to make their membranes, according to Charles Rock, Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Infectious Diseases and senior author of the paper. As bacteria grow in size or divide, they must make additional membrane using a series of biochemical reactions. The first step in this process is the transfer of a fatty acid to a molecule called G3P. Bacteria then convert this molecule into a variety of other molecules called phospholipids, which are the building blocks of membranes.

"We identified a biochemical process that uses a previously unrecognized molecule as a raw material to make phospholipid," Rock said. "That discovery solved a mystery that has puzzled researchers for 25 years."

Scientists have used E. coli bacteria for many years as a model to understand how disease-causing bacteria make membrane phospholipids, but E. coli is an unsuitable model for most pathogens (disease-causing bacteria), according to Rock.

First, E. coli is a so-called gram-negative bacterium, while many of the pathogens researchers are interested in are gram-positive, Rock noted. Among those gram-positive organisms are Staphylococcus aureus, which causes skin infections and serious blood infections, and Streptococcus pneumoniae, which causes pneu monia. The terms "gram-positive" and "gram-negative" refer to the response of bacteria to a standard laboratory process by which they are stained as a first step in identification.

Laboratory strains of E. coli do not cause disease; and the enzyme E. coli uses during the first step in making membranes does not exist in most other bacteria, including gram-positive pathogens. Therefore, the way gram-positive bacteria make phospholipid building blocks remained a mystery for over more than two decades. Now, however, the St. Jude team reports that the gram-positive pathogens use two enzymes, called PlsX and PlsY, to kick off phospholipid synthesis.

"In fact, the biochemical pathway that uses PlsX and PlsY is the most widely distributed bacterial pathway for initiating the production of phospholipids," explained the study's first author, Ying-Jie Lu, Ph.D., of the St. Jude Department of Infectious Diseases. "It turns out that E. coli is more of an oddball rather than in the mainstream when it comes to how it makes membranes."

E. coli fuses a molecule called G3P with a fatty acid in a single step. Rock's team showed that gram-positive pathogens first use PlsX to synthesize a compound called fatty acyl-phosphate, then use PlsY to transfer the fatty acid to G3P. These steps initiate membrane phospholipid formation required for cell growth.

"Our discovery of PlsX and PlsY not only solved a troublesome mystery," Rock said. "It's also important because identifying the essential components required for disease-causing bacteria to grow and multiply is a key part of developing new strategies for controlling infections."


'"/>

Source:St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


Related biology news :

1. Novel Asthma Study Shows Multiple Genetic Input Required; Single-gene Solution Shot Down
2. Solution to Pollution: New Bacteria Eats Toxic Waste
3. Solutions that reduce death of marine life reeled in by International Smart Gear Competition
4. Solution to legionella
5. Anti-bacterial additive widespread in U.S. waterways
6. A bacterial genome reveals new targets to combat infectious disease
7. Discovery of key proteins shape could lead to improved bacterial pneumonia vaccine
8. Scientists discover that host cell lipids facilitate bacterial movement
9. Protein prevents detrimental immune effects of bacterial sepsis
10. Researchers develop new method for facile identification of proteins in bacterial cells
11. A virus-like hitchhiker may trigger bacterial meningitis
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/28/2017)... March 28, 2017 The report ... (Camera, Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), ... - Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... and is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion by ... 2022. The base year considered for the study is ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Vehicle ... around 8.8% over the next decade to reach approximately $14.21 billion ... estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global as ...
(Date:3/20/2017)... ALLENTOWN, Pa. , March 20, 2017 ... PD 2.0 personal spirometer and Wellness Management System (WMS), ... Founded in 2010, PMD Healthcare is a ... Company with a mission dedicated to creating innovative solutions ... of life. With that intent focus, PMD developed the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/16/2017)... ... May 16, 2017 , ... Cynvenio Biosystems, Inc. ... ClearID Lung Cancer blood test. Leveraging a highly-sensitive next-generation sequencing panel of 11 ... to quickly and accurately identify tumor-related genetic mutations that can be treated with ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... ... (PRWEB) May 16, 2017 ... ... of the Chinese Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (CAOS), long-standing development partners Invibio ... on an interbody spine surgery workshop to help expand knowledge of the ...
(Date:5/15/2017)... ... , ... Tunnell Consulting announced that Julia O’Neill, principal and statistician, ... in Process Validation,” at the Process Validation Summit 2017, May 18 and 19, ... the pharmaceutical and biotech industries to explore processes, strategies and new approaches to ensuring ...
(Date:5/15/2017)... Calif. (PRWEB) , ... May 15, 2017 , ... ... today’s launch of ELEVATE Advanced Lift Contouring Cream, a gravity-shattering cream with a ... , “We’re thrilled to bring the Advanced Lift Contouring Cream to our ...
Breaking Biology Technology: