Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Determine Structure Of Enzyme That Disrupts Bacterial Virulence

Date:
September 2, 2005
Source:
Brandeis University
Summary:
A team of biomedical researchers from Brandeis University and the University of Texas at Austin has determined the first 3-dimensional structure of an enzyme that may be pivotal in preventing certain bacterial infections in plants, animals and humans, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This study represents a significant advance in understandinghow this enzyme can prevent certain bacteria from becoming virulent,"explained Dagmar Ringe of the Rosenstiel Basic Medical SciencesResearch Center at Brandeis University. "One of the promising aspectsof potential therapies based on this enzyme is that it targets adifferent pathway than current antibiotics."

The enzyme works by disrupting the ability of certain bacteriato sense their own population growth -- the key to triggering genesthat can increase virulence. In order to sense the size of their ownpopulations, certain bacteria produce small molecules called N-acylhomoserine lactones. The concentrations of these lactones increasealong with the growth of the bacterial population. After reaching athreshold concentration, the lactones can "turn on" a variety of genes,often increasing the virulence of the accumulating bacteria.

This population-sensing results in a type of bacterial "groupthink" because certain genes are not turned on until a minimum numberof bacteria are present. Hence, this phenomenon is calledquorum-sensing.

"Being able to disrupt quorum-sensing in these organisms couldpotentially augment our current treatments, and knowing the structureof this quorum-quenching enzyme will greatly help in developing moreeffective enzymes for this type of application," explained Walter Fast,assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy at the University ofTexas at Austin.

In addition to treating plant pathogens, the hope is thatthese quorum-quenching enzymes may eventually be developed for use intreating human and animal pathogens that also rely on quorum-sensingfor their virulence.

For example, bacterial pathogens such as Burkholderia mallei,which is responsible for the biowarfare threat glanders, andPseudomonas aeruginosa, which often forms opportunistic infections onthe lung surfaces of patients with cystic fibrosis, rely on theirquorum-sensing systems to increase their pathogenicity and resistanceto antibiotics.

###

These studies were supported by the National Institutes of Health and the Robert A. Welch Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brandeis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brandeis University. "Scientists Determine Structure Of Enzyme That Disrupts Bacterial Virulence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050831074524.htm>.
Brandeis University. (2005, September 2). Scientists Determine Structure Of Enzyme That Disrupts Bacterial Virulence. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050831074524.htm
Brandeis University. "Scientists Determine Structure Of Enzyme That Disrupts Bacterial Virulence." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050831074524.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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