Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Anthrax Cellular Entry Point Uncovered

Date:
January 28, 2008
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
Anthrax spores enter the cell through something called Mac-1, a receptor that sits on the surface of certain cells, according to a new study. Unraveling the anthrax-Mac-1 gateway will speed the development of new drugs and vaccines to fight or prevent infection, and advance the understanding of bacterial infection.

The long-sought-after biological “gateway” that anthrax uses to enter healthy cells has been uncovered by microbiologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Anthrax spores enter the cell through something called Mac-1, a receptor that sits on the surface of certain cells.

This is the first study to uncover exactly how the bacteria get inside cells to begin with, the UAB researchers said. Previous studies have shown what happens after anthrax spores enter the body and wreak havoc.

Unraveling the anthrax-Mac-1 gateway is a milestone in the ongoing efforts to protect humans from bioterrorism and biological warfare, the UAB microbiologists said. Such a discovery will speed the development of new drugs and vaccines to fight or prevent anthrax infection, and advance the understanding of bacterial infection.

“We know anthrax infection can occur in wild and domestic animals, but in humans this disease is extremely rare and very dangerous. It is a bioweapon,” said John Kearney, Ph.D., a professor in the UAB Department of Microbiology and co-author on the study. “This study reveals the biological paradigm that makes the anthrax spore clever enough to target the Mac-1 receptor, and use this entry point to boost its lethality.”

Bacillus anthracis infection occurs in three forms: cutaneous (skin), inhalation and through swallowing spores. The skin infection is the most common type and can be treated with antibiotics if diagnosed rapidly.

The more serious form is inhalation anthrax, which was diagnosed in a few adults during the anthrax scare after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks against the United States.

In the UAB study, researchers worked under strict bio-safe conditions to infect cultures of cells and laboratory-bred mice with a strain of anthrax often used in research.

Infection rates and other observations were significant enough to convince the microbiologists anthrax relies on Mac-1 to do its damage inside healthy cells.

“By showing how anthrax spores recognize Mac-1 receptors, this discovery points toward a precise entry point which B. anthracis uses to proliferate and trigger lethal consequences,” said Claudia Oliva, Ph.D., and Melissa Swiecki, Ph.D., both researchers in the UAB Department of Microbiology and co-lead authors on the study.

The findings are published in the online version of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and will soon appear in a print edition. Funding support for the study came from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Anthrax Cellular Entry Point Uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080125170905.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2008, January 28). Anthrax Cellular Entry Point Uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080125170905.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Anthrax Cellular Entry Point Uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080125170905.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! 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