Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel Insecticidal Toxins From Bacteria

Date:
September 7, 2007
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
A light-emitting strain of bacteria and a nematode worm, which work together to prey on soil-dwelling insects, use insecticidal toxins to kill their insect hosts. Scientists are now investigating the potential role of these toxins in bacteria pathogenic to humans.

A light-emitting strain of bacteria and a nematode worm, which work together to prey on soil-dwelling insects, use insecticidal toxins to kill their insect hosts. Scientists speaking at the Society for General Microbiology's 161st Meeting are now investigating the potential role of these toxins in bacteria pathogenic to humans.

Speaker Michelle Hares, of the University of Exeter, studies insect-killing nematode worms which have symbiotic bacteria living in their guts. When the worm encounters insect prey, it burrows into the insect's body and regurgitates the bacteria. These bacteria, called Photorhabdus luminescens, then release toxins directly into the insect's bloodstream, rapidly killing it. The insect's flesh then provides food for the bacteria and in turn the bacteria are food for the nematode.

"Once inside an insect, caterpillar or larva, the bacteria release a mixture of toxins which kill the victim", says Michelle Hares of the University of Exeter's Cornwall Campus. "The toxins we identified are made up of three different proteins, and all three are needed to kill the insect". The Cornwall based scientists also discovered that the same genes needed to make these protein toxins are found in the Yersinia pestis bacteria which caused the bubonic plague, and in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis which causes thousands of cases of gastroenteritis today.

When the toxic proteins from both these human pathogenic bacteria were fed to tobacco hornworm caterpillars they had no effect, but when the same proteins were put on living cells from humans both Yersinia bacteria strains killed the cells.

"Our initial interest in this group of toxins, was centered around the hunt for novel insecticides, but our work now suggests they may also play an important role in the evolution of human and mammalian disease", says Michelle Hares. "Our findings suggest that insecticidal toxin complexes have been adapted by the Yersinia family of bacteria to attack mammalian cells. We are therefore currently investigating exactly how the toxin complexes elicit their response and how they are involved in the evolution of pathogenic disease in Yersinia".

Mrs Hares is presenting the poster 'Insecticidal Toxins of Photorhabdus luminescens and Yersinia' on September 5 2007 at the University of Edinburgh, UK.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Novel Insecticidal Toxins From Bacteria." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070905081600.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2007, September 7). Novel Insecticidal Toxins From Bacteria. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070905081600.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Novel Insecticidal Toxins From Bacteria." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070905081600.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

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
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
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