Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Detecting Anthrax Proteins At Ultralow Concentrations

Date:
September 1, 2005
Source:
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Summary:
A new laboratory method for quickly detecting active anthrax proteins within an infected blood sample at extremely low levels has been developed by researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and the National Cancer Institute. The method takes about an hour to get unambiguous results compared to up to several days to get results with current techniques.

A computer model shows side and top views of two different proteins produced by anthrax bacteria. The green molecule is "protective antigen" (PA), which spontaneously forms pores that penetrate organic membranes such as cell walls. The yellow molecule is "lethal factor (LF)." When a voltage is applied across a membrane studded with PA pores, both positive and negative ions flow through. Once LF binds to the pore, however, current only flows in one direction.
Credit: Image credit: T. Nguyen, National Cancer Institute

A new laboratory method for quickly detectingactive anthrax proteins within an infected blood sample at extremelylow levels has been developed by researchers at the National Instituteof Standards and Technology (NIST), the U.S. Army Medical ResearchInstitute of Infectious Diseases and the National Cancer Institute.

Current detection methods rely on injecting live animals orcell cultures with samples for analysis and require up to several daysbefore results are available. Described* in an upcoming issue of theJournal of Biological Chemistry, the new method produces unambiguousresults in about an hour. The researchers hope the system willultimately be useful in developing fast, reliable ways to diagnoseanthrax infections or to quickly screen large numbers of drugs aspossible therapies for blocking the bacteria's toxic effects.

The method works by detecting changes in current flow whenanthrax proteins are present in a solution. An anthrax proteinironically called "protective antigen" spontaneously formsnanometer-scale pores that penetrate the surface of an organicmembrane. When a voltage is applied across the membrane, positively andnegatively charged ions flow freely in both directions through thepore. When additional anthrax proteins called lethal factor (LF) oredema factor (EF) are present, however, the proteins bind to theoutside of the pore and shut down the flow of ions in one direction.This change in current flow depends on the concentration of theproteins in the solution and can detect amounts as low as 10 picomolar(trillionths of a mole).

"We hope this system will lead to a method for rapidlyscreening agents that inhibit the binding of LF or EF to these pores,"says NIST's lead investigator John Kasianowicz.

Live anthrax antibodies seem to do exactly that. Whenantibodies were present in the test solution and then LF was added, thecurrent flow remained unchanged, indicating that the anthrax proteinswere unable to bind properly. The long-term goal would be to find drugswith few side effects that also interfere with this binding process.

###

* K.M. Halverson, R.G. Panchal, T. Nguyen, R. Gussio, S.F. Little,M. Misakian, S. Bavari and J.J. Kasianowicz, "Anthrax Biosensor:Protective Antigen Ion Channel Asymmetric Blockade," Journal ofBiological Chemistry, slated for a November issue, posted online Aug.8, 2005.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Institute of Standards and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Detecting Anthrax Proteins At Ultralow Concentrations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050831074045.htm>.
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2005, September 1). Detecting Anthrax Proteins At Ultralow Concentrations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050831074045.htm
National Institute of Standards and Technology. "Detecting Anthrax Proteins At Ultralow Concentrations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050831074045.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

Government Approves East Coast Oil Exploration

AP (July 18, 2014) The Obama administration approved the use of sonic cannons to discover deposits under the ocean floor by shooting sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Sunken German U-Boat Clearly Visible For First Time

Newsy (July 18, 2014) The wreckage of the German submarine U-166 has become clearly visible for the first time since it was discovered in 2001. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Obama: U.S. Must Have "smartest Airports, Best Power Grid"

Reuters - US Online Video (July 17, 2014) President Barak Obama stopped by at a lunch counter in Delaware before making remarks about boosting the nation's infrastructure. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

Crude Oil Prices Bounce Back After Falling Below $100 a Barrel

TheStreet (July 16, 2014) Oil Futures are bouncing back after tumbling below $100 a barrel for the first time since May yesterday. Jeff Grossman is the president of BRG Brokerage and trades at the NYMEX. Grossman tells TheStreet the Middle East is always a concern for oil traders. Oil prices were pushed down in recent weeks on Libya increasing its production. Supply disruptions in Iraq fading also contributed to prices falling. News from China's economic front showing a growth for the second quarter also calmed fears on its slowdown. Jeff Grossman talks to TheStreet's Susannah Lee on this and more on the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. Video provided by TheStreet
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:
from the past week

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