Navigation Links
Prickly protein

A genetic mechanism that controls the production of a large spike-like protein on the surface of Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria alters the ability of the bacteria to form clumps and to cause disease, according to a new University of Iowa study.

The new study is the first to link this genetic mechanism to the production of the giant surface protein and to clumping behavior in bacteria. It is also the first time that clumping behavior has been associated with endocarditis, a serious infection of heart valves that kills 20,000 Americans each year. The findings were published in the Dec. 2103 issue of the journal PLOS Pathogens.

Under normal conditions, staph bacteria interact with proteins in human blood to form aggregates, or clumps. This clumping behavior has been associated with pathogenesis -- the ability of bacteria to cause disease. However, the mechanisms that control clumping are not well understood.

In the process of investigating how staph bacteria regulate cell-to-cell interactions, researchers at the UI Carver College of Medicine discovered a mutant strain of staph that does not clump at all in the presence of blood proteins.

Further investigation revealed that the clumping defect is due to disruption of a genetic signaling mechanism used by bacteria to sense and respond to their environment. The study shows that when the mechanism is disrupted, the giant surface protein is overproduced -- giving the cells a spiny, or "porcupine-like" appearance -- and the bacteria lose their ability to form clumps.

Importantly, the researchers led by Alexander Horswill, PhD, associate professor of microbiology, found that this clumping defect also makes the bacteria less dangerous in an experimental model of the serious staph infection, endocarditis.

Specifically, the team showed that wild type bacteria cause much larger vegetations (aggregates of bacteria) on the heart valves and are more deadly than the mutant bacteria, which are unable to form clumps. The experimental model of the disease was a good parallel to the team's test tube experiments.

"The mutant bacteria that don't clump in test tube experiments, don't form vegetations on the heart valves," Horswill explains.

The team then created a version of the mutant bacteria that was also unable to make the giant surface protein. This strain regained the ability of form clumps and also partially regained its ability to cause disease, suggesting that the surface protein is at least partly responsible for both preventing clump formation and for reducing pathogenesis.

"Our study suggests that clumping could be a target for therapy," says Horswill. "If we could find drugs that block clumping, I think they would be potentially really useful for blocking staph infections."

Staph bacteria are the most significant cause of serious infectious disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The bacteria are responsible for life-threatening conditions, including endocarditis, pneumonia, toxic shock, and sepsis. A better understanding of how staph bacteria causes disease may help improve treatment.

The team is now using screening methods to find small molecules that can block clumping. Such molecules will allow the researchers to investigate the clumping mechanism more thoroughly and may also point to therapies that might reduce the illness caused by staph infections.


Contact: Jennifer Brown
University of Iowa Health Care

Related medicine news :

1. NIH scientists find mechanism that helps HIV evade antibodies, stabilize key proteins
2. Critical protein discovered for healthy cell growth in mammals
3. Researchers find changes to protein SirT1
4. 2 proteins compete for 1 port on a growth factor; 1 promotes metastasis, the other blocks it
5. NCCS scientists discover gene regulation is dependent on protein ANP32E
6. Better protein capture a boon for drug manufacturers
7. Homemade Protein Bar Recipe Looks to Cut Out Extra Additives from Health Foods, Believes Carol Newman of The BioGirl Health Show
8. New NuGo Stronger: First Non-GMO High Protein Bar with rBGH-Free Whey Protein for Serious Athletes
9. Tricky protein may help HIV vaccine development
10. Research shows molecular, protein targeting therapies may be best treatment for certain lung cancer
11. Rock And Rho: Proteins that help cancer cells groove
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Prickly protein
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... The American Board of Family ... next President and Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Dr. James C. Puffer upon his retirement. ... 1, 2018 until Dr. Puffer’s retirement at the end of 2018. Upon assuming the ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Nevada (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... Hemp CBD Oil utilizing Purzorb™ technology. Applying the Purzorb™process to full spectrum CBD oil ... required and providing a CBD form that can be easily incorporated into liquid products, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... QUEENS, N.Y (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... recently became a member of ElderCounsel, a national organization of elder law and special ... constantly changing laws and rules. It also provides a forum to network with elder ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance that covers care for a ... waiver for care if the client has a cognitive impairment diagnosis. , “What ... is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start immediately,” said Mechell Vieira, ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Ellevate Network, the ... business to advocate for action towards gender equality at their inaugural Summit in New ... the globe, and reached a social audience of over 3 million. To watch the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)...   Divoti USA will engrave and process ... of the latest FDA requirements, which stipulates new criteria regarding medical ... need of Medical ID jewelry such as Medical ID Bracelets, can ... in terms of the new FDA requirements . ... Divoti offers this dark mark fiber laser ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... IRVING, Texas , Oct. 11, 2017  Caris ... science focused on fulfilling the promise of precision medicine, ... Institute has joined Caris, Precision Oncology Alliance™ (POA) as ... leading cancer centers, the St. Jude Crosson Cancer Institute ... to advance the use of tumor profiling, making cancer ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... 10, 2017  NDS received FDA 510(k) clearance in May 2017 ... display stand specifically designed for endoscopy environments. An innovative secondary monitor ... clinical solution to support the improvement of patient outcomes, procedural efficiency, ... ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: