Navigation Links
A molecular 'superglue' based on flesh-eating bacteria
Date:4/11/2013

NEW ORLEANS, April 11, 2013 In a classic case of turning an enemy into a friend, scientists have engineered a protein from flesh-eating bacteria to act as a molecular "superglue" that promises to become a disease fighter. And their latest results, which make the technology more versatile, were the topic of a report here today at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society.

"We've turned the tables and put one kind of flesh-eating bacterium to good use," said Mark Howarth, Ph.D., who led the research. "We have engineered one of its proteins into a molecular superglue that adheres so tightly that the set-up we used to measure the strength actually broke. It resists high and low temperatures, acids and other harsh conditions and seals quickly. With this material we can lock proteins together in ways that could underpin better diagnostic tests for early detection of cancer cells circulating in the blood, for instance. There are many uses in research, such as probing how the forces inside cells change the biochemistry and affect health and disease."

Howarth's team at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom genetically engineered the glue from a protein, FbaB, that helps Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes) bacteria infect cells. S. pyogenes is one of the microbes that can cause the rare necrotizing fasciitis, or flesh-eating bacteria syndrome, in which difficult-to-treat infections destroy body tissue.

They split FbaB into two parts, a larger protein and a smaller protein subunit, termed a peptide. Abbreviating S. pyogenes as "Spy," they named the small peptide "SpyTag" and the larger protein "SpyCatcher." The gluing action occurs when SpyTag and SpyCatcher meet. They quickly lock together by forming one of the strongest possible chemical bonds. SpyCatcher and SpyTag can be attached to the millions of proteins in the human body and other living things, thus gluing proteins together.

In an advance reported at the meeting, Howarth described how Jacob Fierer, a graduate student on the research team, greatly reduced the size of the SpyCatcher part of the technology. That achievement makes the technology more flexible, enabling scientists to connect proteins into new architectures, he said.

One of the applications on the horizon involves testing the technology as a new way to detect "circulating tumor cells," or CTCs. Tumors shed these cells into the bloodstream, where they may act as seeds, spreading or metastasizing cancer from the original site to other parts of the body. That spreading is the reason why cancer is such a serious health problem. Detecting CTCs is an active area of research worldwide because of its potential for early diagnosis of cancer from blood samples rather than biopsies and determining when new treatments may be needed to prevent the disease from spreading.

Howarth said that the Spy technology has advantages over other molecular gluing systems that are available. SpyCatcher and SpyTag, for instance, can glue two proteins together at any point in the protein. "That flexibility allows us many different ways to label proteins and gives us new approaches to assemble proteins together for diagnostic tests," Howarth explained.

Howarth and colleagues are working with Isis Innovation, the University of Oxford's technology transfer company, to find potential partners to bring the Spy system to the market.


'/>"/>

Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
504-670-4707 (New Orleans Press Center, April 5-10)
202-872-6042

Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
504-670-4707 (New Orleans Press Center, April 5-10)
202-872-6293
American Chemical Society


Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Tsai wins innovator award for plan to map molecular path to skin cancer
2. Advances in molecular testing offer new hope for lung cancer patients
3. Scientists identify brains molecular memory switch
4. Study finds molecular signature for rapidly increasing form of esophageal cancer
5. Flip of a single molecular switch makes an old brain young
6. Molecular coordination in evolution: A review in Nature Reviews Genetics
7. Obesity, physical inactivity linked with risk for certain molecular subtype of colorectal cancer
8. UNC-led study documents head and neck cancer molecular tumor subtypes
9. Molecular master switch for pancreatic cancer identified, potential predictor of treatment outcome
10. New details on the molecular machinery of cancer
11. U of M researchers develop a molecular calcium sponge to tackle heart failure
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... 04, 2016 , ... IsoComforter, Inc., one of the Nations ... newly improved Iso-Hip Wrap. The newly designed hip wrap has been specifically ... enables the patient to enjoy the benefits of cold therapy while resting, sitting, ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... ... A new collaboration will give more researchers access to the largest and ... leader SAS will provide researchers worldwide with data management and analytics tools to explore ... , The DCRI and SAS share the goal of greater transparency and openness in ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Slepkow Slepkow & ... one of the top website design companies to create a state of the ... to the law firm's main practice areas. These practice areas include: real estate, ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... , ... Francesca Loparco, Co-Founder of Queen City Dream Cars, an exotic car ... procedure at Christenbury Eye Center. The entrepreneur struggled with her computer, riding horses ... day as her in-office consultation and eye exam. Francesca’s eyesight was restored to 20/20 ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Advanced Spine & Sport Medical Rehabilitation Center, which is renowned ... a free seminar on stem cell injections. The seminar is scheduled for Wednesday, May ... Telephone Road, Suite 110, Ventura, CA. There are only 10 seats available. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... 2016 Intec Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ: ... company, today announced the appointment of Pnina Strauss-Levy ... "Ms. Strauss-Levy has 15 years of experience in ... outstanding track record, having supported the advancement of several ... in the United States and ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... PUNE, India , May 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Market 2016 Research Report provides a basic overview ... manufacturing technology, post which the surgical mesh report ... the market. Complete report on Surgical ... company profiles and 98 tables and figures is ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... May 2, 2016 Kalorama Information noted the ... Records) market in a recent white paper.  The healthcare ... physician usage, a growing market are among the top ... Kalorama,s report EMR 2016: The Market for ... seventh complete study of the EMR industry, and the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: