Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

MBL Study Shows How Good Cholesterol Provides Human Immunity To Certain Parasites

Date:
October 30, 2005
Source:
Marine Biological Laboratory
Summary:
For years biomedical researchers have known that high density lipoproteins, commonly called HDLs or "good cholesterol," are responsible for protecting humans from certain parasites, but couldn't explain how. Now MBL scientists have discovered that human HDLs work this bug-repelling magic by serving as a platform for the assembly and delivery of two naturally occurring proteins that combine to create a super-toxic antimicrobial.

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA -- For years biomedical researchers have known that high density lipoproteins, commonly called HDLs or "good cholesterol," are responsible for protecting humans from certain parasites, but couldn't explain how. Now MBL scientists have discovered that human HDLs work this bug-repelling magic by serving as a platform for the assembly and delivery of two naturally occurring proteins that combine to create a super-toxic antimicrobial.

The research, published in the September 30 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, focuses specifically on human innate immunity to Trypanosoma brucei brucei, the parasite that gives African cattle the deadly disease called Nagana, but which doesn't harm humans even though scientists believe they are exposed to it. The parasite is a close relative of Trypanosoma brucei gambienese and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, the organisms that cause African sleeping sickness in humans.

The findings that two proteins work synergistically to kill the Nagana parasite in humans contradict a long-held hypothesis that a single protein was the key to HDL's parasite-fighting power. "The research may be helpful to veterinarians hoping to develop treatments to aid African cattle farmers, who lose three million cattle and around a billion US dollars annually to Nagana," says April Shiflett, a scientist in the MBL's Global Infectious Diseases Program and an author on the paper. Scientists also hope the research will provide key information to investigators seeking treatments for certain parasitic infections, such as malaria.

To identify the proteins--known as apolipoprotein L-1 (apo L-1) and haptoglobin-related protein (Hpr)--MBL scientists tested different amounts and combinations of the proteins on Trypanosoma brucei brucei specimens. To survive the parasite needs to digest the lipids in HDLs. Because HDL carries these proteins and enables them to combine, it is nature's perfect delivery system for the antimicrobial. And when test organisms digested the super-toxic protein mix, the single-celled organisms literally dissolved.

Shiflett and her colleagues in the MBL's Global Infectious Diseases Program are focused on understanding the molecular workings of a variety of parasites, including those that cause human African sleeping sickness, Nagana, and malaria. Such research is crucial to finding creating better treatments, and possibly cures, for diseases that are ravaging the people and economies of places like Africa and other developing countries.

Funding for this study was provided by the National Institutes of Health. The complete paper can be found in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Volume 280, Number 38.

###

The MBL is an internationally known, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888, as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. The Global Infectious Diseases Program is a part of the MBL's Josephine Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution. The Center explores the evolution and interaction of genomes of diverse organisms that play significant roles in environmental biology and human health. This dynamic research program integrates the powerful tools of genome science, molecular phylogenetics, and molecular ecology to advance our understanding of how living organisms are related to each other, to provide the tools to quantify and assess biodiversity, and to identify genes and underlying mechanisms of biomedical importance. For more information, visit the MBL website at http://www.MBL.edu.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Marine Biological Laboratory. "MBL Study Shows How Good Cholesterol Provides Human Immunity To Certain Parasites." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051028142201.htm>.
Marine Biological Laboratory. (2005, October 30). MBL Study Shows How Good Cholesterol Provides Human Immunity To Certain Parasites. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051028142201.htm
Marine Biological Laboratory. "MBL Study Shows How Good Cholesterol Provides Human Immunity To Certain Parasites." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/10/051028142201.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) 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:
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