Navigation Links
Solving the Z ring's mysteries may lead to new antibiotics
Date:4/8/2008

A team led by Johns Hopkins researchers has solved important puzzles concerning how certain proteins guide the reproduction of bacteria, discoveries that could lead to a new type of antibiotics.

In a recent study published in the journal Current Biology, the scientists reported how a belt-like structure called a Z ring, which pinches a rod-shaped bacterium to produce two offspring, can be disabled by a protein called MinC. By exploiting this vulnerability, the researchers said, pharmaceutical companies may find a way to fight infections that no longer respond to older medications.

The potential medical applications of our discovery are significant, said Alex Dajkovic, lead author of the paper. Because the molecules involved in cell division are very similar in almost all bacteria, the process we uncovered provides a new target for the people who make antibiotics. This is extremely important because antibiotic resistance is on the rise, and many preventable deaths, especially in the developing world, are caused by bacterial infections.

Dajkovic helped make the discoveries as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Denis Wirtz, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering in Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering. Dajkovic is now a researcher at Institut Curie in Paris.

Wirtz, who also is associate director of the Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology, noted that most antibiotics target the ability of bacteria to build their cell walls or their ability to make proteins or DNA. With this paper, Alex and the rest of the team identified new molecular targets that could disrupt bacterial cell division. If the bacteria cant reproduce, the infection will die.

The researchers focused on the rod-shaped bacterium E. coli, commonly found in the human digestive tract, which serves as a model organism for study of basic bacterial processes. When these single-celled microbes want to multiply, a structure called the Z ring forms, then begins to tighten like a rubber band around each bacteriums midsection. The Z ring helps to pinch the rod-shaped body into two microbial sausages that finally split apart to form two cells.

For about 20 years, researchers have known about the Z ring but have not understood precisely how it operated and why it always formed in the middle of rod-shaped cells. The main components of Z rings are filaments of a protein molecule called FtsZ

In the new journal article, the Johns Hopkins-led researchers were able to report for the first time that the changing of FtsZ threads from a liquid-like form to a more solid structure inside the cell is important for the formation of the Z ring. The team found that FtsZ threads weave themselves into a framework or scaffold that can hold all of the other molecules involved in the cell division process. The FtsZ filments are able to weave this tapestry, the researchers learned, because they tend to attract one another and interact along the length of each thread.

The team also discovered that MinC, another protein inside the bacterial cell, disrupts this process by liquefying the structure that is used to form a Z ring. MinC blocks the attraction between FtsZ filaments along their lengths, and it also makes the filaments more fragile, said Dajkovic. This has the effect of shearing the weavings in the tapestry of the Z ring, which causes the whole structure to fall apart.

MinC is most prevalent on the outer ends of the rod-shaped bacterial cell, the researchers said, and this explains why the Z ring always forms and splits the cell in the middle, where it is less likely to encounter its protein foe. The team members said this discovery also presents a promising opportunity: a new drug that mimics the effects of MinC could play havoc with the bacterial reproductive process and thereby put an end to an infection.

The findings resulted from a collaboration involving Dajkovic, whose background is in cell biology and biochemistry; Wirtz, whose expertise is in biophysics and engineering; and Sean X. Sun, a Johns Hopkins assistant professor of mechanical engineering who provided computational modeling of the cell division process. Wirtz and Sun were co-authors of the Current Biology paper, along with Ganhui Lan, a doctoral student in Suns lab, and Joe Lutkenhaus, a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics and Immunology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Lutkenhaus was Dajkovics faculty advisor as a doctoral student.


'/>"/>

Contact: Phil Sneiderman
prs@jhu.edu
443-287-9960
Johns Hopkins University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology technology :

1. The American Fertility Association Brings Fertility Education to San Francisco or Parent Hopefuls - Straight and Gay
2. Cinpathogen Brings Together Over 40 Shanghai Area Hospitals at the First Annual Cinpathogen Hematology Conference
3. Purdue creating wireless sensors to monitor bearings in jet engines
4. MannKind Corporation Raises $250 Million in Self Managed Registered Direct Offerings of Common Stock
5. Doping technique brings nanomechanical devices into the semiconductor world
6. Elekta Brings Intelligent Ways to Manage Motion During Cancer Treatment to ESTRO
7. GenVault Partnership with Genome Quebec Brings $3.3 Million Sale of Dynamic Archive Product
8. ATS Medical Expands Open Pivot Heart Valve Offerings
9. Drugs from Johnson & Johnson/Basilea and Forest Are the Most Promising Antibiotics in the Community-Acquired Pneumonia Pipeline
10. GlaxoSmithKline and Anacor Pharmaceuticals Form Alliance to Develop Systemic Antivirals and Antibiotics Based on Boron Chemistry
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Solving the Z ring's mysteries may lead to new antibiotics
(Date:12/2/2016)... PRUSSIA, PA (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... is through industry-wide collaboration, standardization and a beautiful technology experience. All three tenets were ... more than 100 clinical trial leaders from over 40 sponsor, CRO and site organizations ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... Dec. 1, 2016   SurePure, Inc. (OTCQB: ... that the Company has concluded an agreement with Tamarack ... a 90-day period to acquire units of the Company,s ... USD 3.7 million.  Concurrently with the ... under which Tamarack will seek regulatory approvals in ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 30, 2016  GenomOncology today announced the appointment of ... Affairs.  Dr. Coleman will oversee clinical content ... knowledge-enabled platform. The GenomOncology software suite empowers molecular pathologists with ... and clinical decision support, from quality control through reporting. ... , , ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , Nov. 30, 2016  The Allen Institute ... Collection: the first publicly available collection of gene ... that target key cellular structures with unprecedented clarity. ... these powerful tools are a crucial first step ... better understand what makes human cells healthy and ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... -- Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction ... to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... 2, 2016 The Department of Transport ... the 44 million US Dollar project, for the , ... including Personalization, Enrolment, and IT Infrastructure , to ... production and implementation of Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international ... Decatur was selected for the most compliant ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):