Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers Discover Attack Route Used By Plague Bacterium's Killer Toxins

Date:
December 2, 1998
Source:
University Of Kentucky -- Chandler Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers at the University of Kentucky report the discovery a novel attack route used by one of the plague bacterium’s killer toxins. Their work with Yersinia pestis, the bacterium which causes the plague, is published in the Nov. 28 issue of Molecular Microbiology.

LEXINGTON, KY (Nov. 28, 1998) – Researchers at the University of Kentucky report today the discovery a novel attack route used by one of the plague bacterium’s killer toxins. Their work with Yersinia pestis, the bacterium which causes the plague, is published in the Nov. 28 issue of Molecular Microbiology. The study provides new clues about how a toxic protein called YopM, originally discovered at UK, targets and attacks the cell’s nucleus. Only two other pathogenic bacterial proteins are known to enter the nucleus of cells.

Related Articles


"This finding raises the intriguing possibility that YopM may contribute to the development of disease by altering human gene expression," said Susan Straley, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology, UK College of Medicine, and director of the research team for the project. "We believe that further study of the mode of action of this protein in host cells will provide insight into bacterial causes of disease and cell biology."

Yersinia invades an organism and attaches itself to cell surfaces. YopM is one of six toxins called Yops that Yersinia injects directly into the cell. Yops act by scrambling the functions necessary for humans to mount a defense against the bacteria.

Little is known about how these mysterious toxins function to destroy the immune response, but researchers believe Yops target phagocytic cells, the body’s first line of defense against invaders. The bacterial killing response of the phagocytic cells is paralyzed, and the cells are rendered incapable of sending messages to other cells to begin an immune response to the pathogen.

UK researchers propose that YopM uses complex interactions to reach and pass through the controlled gates of the nucleus. They believe YopM binds to the exterior of acidic compartments, called endosomal vesicles, and moves as new vesicles arise. YopM may act to prevent enter the nucleus by itself or it may become associated with a protein. Once the nucleus is invaded, YopM may act to prevent the development of a defense that is needed for clearance of bacteria from the body.

"We are aiming future studies at identifying YopM’s ultimate molecular target and hope to reveal the molecular partners used by the protein on its journey through the human cell," Straley said. "These studies will

provide a new window into how our cells function, and the understanding gained from them will benefit all endeavors that depend upon understanding how the human body works."

The researchers’ work helps biotechnology companies develop improved therapies for many diseases, Straley said. Scientists view Yersinia pestis as a useful model pathogen that merits the type of study underway in Straley’s lab because several broadly applicable principles have been discovered from such studies in the past.

Moreover, plague still poses a public health threat and continues to be a global problem. If a drug-resistant strain should emerge abroad, Americans are only a plane ride away from potential exposure to it. In the United States, 41 cases were reported between 1993 and 1996. Worldwide, there are 1,000 to 2,000 cases each year, and there is always the concern that a serious epidemic may develop.

First author on the paper is researcher Elzbieta Skrzypek, Ph.D., scientist II, UK College of Medicine, and Clarissa Cowan, research analysts, UK College of Medicine, also contributed to the work. The project was supported until September 1997 by the Department of the Army and since then by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Kentucky -- Chandler Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Kentucky -- Chandler Medical Center. "Researchers Discover Attack Route Used By Plague Bacterium's Killer Toxins." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981202075544.htm>.
University Of Kentucky -- Chandler Medical Center. (1998, December 2). Researchers Discover Attack Route Used By Plague Bacterium's Killer Toxins. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981202075544.htm
University Of Kentucky -- Chandler Medical Center. "Researchers Discover Attack Route Used By Plague Bacterium's Killer Toxins." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/12/981202075544.htm (accessed March 2, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, March 2, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

Whale-Watching Scientists Spot Baby Orca

AP (Feb. 28, 2015) Researchers following endangered killer whales spotted a baby orca off the coast of Washington state, the third birth documented this winter but still leaving the population dangerously low. (Feb. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Drinks for Your Health

The Best Drinks for Your Health

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) When it comes to health and fitness, there&apos;s lots of talk about what foods to eat, but there are a few liquids that can promote good nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the healthiest drinks to boost your health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Cherries, Snap Peas and More Tasty Spring Produce

Buzz60 (Feb. 27, 2015) From sweet cherries to sugar snap peas, spring is the peak season for some of the tastiest and healthiest produce. Krystin Goodwin (@Krystingoodwin) has the best seasonal fruits and veggies to spring in to good health! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins