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:4/28/2016)... April 28, 2016 First quarter 2016:   ... 966% compared with the first quarter of 2015 The ... 589.1 M (loss: 18.8) and the operating margin was 40% (-13) ... Cash flow from operations was SEK 249.9 M (21.2) ... guidance is unchanged, SEK 7,000-8,500 M. The operating margin ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... the  "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to ... ) , The analysts forecast the ... CAGR of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... number of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, ...
(Date:4/15/2016)... 15, 2016  A new partnership announced today ... underwriting decisions in a fraction of the time ... and high-value life insurance policies to consumers without ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and ... (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... ... May 03, 2016 , ... In a list published by the Boston ... 76 fastest-growing private companies; a small percentage of the state's 615,000+ small businesses. The ... percent change in revenue from 2012 to 2015. , As this award ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016 ... Assessing Developers and Producers of Those Competitor Biologics  ... to Companies, Activities and Prospects ,  Who ... companies? And what are their sales potentials? Discover, ... you see results, trends, opportunities and revenue forecasting. ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... Willoughby, Ohio (PRWEB) , ... May 02, 2016 ... ... website. Designed with its clients in mind, the fresh look and added functionality ... capabilities. , “Recent years have seen a dynamic shift in agriculture – from ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Amendia, Inc., a ... procedures, today announced the completion of a significant transaction and partnership that positions ... customers and partners. Kohlberg & Company, L.L.C. (“Kohlberg”), a leading private equity ...
Breaking Biology Technology: