Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Seek To Disarm TB's 'Molecular Weapon'

Date:
March 10, 2008
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Researchers seek to gain edge in war against ancient foe, TB. They have isolated the molecular 'weapons' of the bacterium and are now assessing ways to make the bacterium impotent. They are focusing on two proteins in the TB bacterium which, it is thought, allows it to thrive in white blood cells.

The structure of the ESAT-6/CFP-10 complex. Note the 'long arm' on the right side of CFP-10. When this is intact, it allows the complex to attach to the outside of host white blood cells (central, the intense green shows a high amount of the complex binding). When the long arm is cleaved off, the complex shows greatly reduced attachment.
Credit: Copyright University of Leicester

Scientists at the University of Leicester are claiming a new advance in their fight against the resurgence of TB in Britain. They have isolated the molecular 'weapons' of the bacterium and are now assessing ways to make the bacterium impotent.

Scientists in the University's Department of Biochemistry are focusing on two proteins in the TB bacterium which, it is thought, allows it to thrive in white blood cells.

They are particularly examining a 'long arm' in a molecule of the bacterium which is thought to be used to bind onto white blood cells. The scientists are also seeking to identify which part of the white blood cell is being targeted.

Dr. Mark Carr, from the Department of Biochemistry said: "If you were to ask most people about TB, they would have most likely told you it was no longer a threat, merely a memory of a Britain with an undeveloped healthcare system.

"But TB is on the rise around the world with the number of new reported cases nearly doubling in the past 25 years. The World Health Organisation reported 8,500 instances in the UK in 2005.

"At the University of Leicester, our aim is to take the molecular 'weapons' of TB and isolate them, to understand their function and hopefully find a way to minimise their effects.

"One of the most important of these molecular weapons is known as the ESAT-6/CFP-10 complex. These are two proteins that bind together to become a functional unit, and it is thought that they may be needed to allow the bacteria to thrive inside white blood cells, as happens during the initial infection. Removal of the genes for this complex from the TB genome renders the bacteria unable to cause disease, exposing how important this particular weapon is to the bacteria.

"Similarly, studies of the structure of the protein complex have shown that removal of a 'long arm' from the molecule prevents the complex's ability to bind to the outer surface of human white blood cells. This data has provided us with a potential insight into the important components of this complex."

Dr. Carr added: "Current work is attempting to identify the exact components of the human white blood cells that this complex is targeting. Once found, this should give us a greater knowledge of the action of these molecular weapons of TB and give us the edge in the war against an ancient, reawakened foe."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Scientists Seek To Disarm TB's 'Molecular Weapon'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080306075226.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2008, March 10). Scientists Seek To Disarm TB's 'Molecular Weapon'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080306075226.htm
University of Leicester. "Scientists Seek To Disarm TB's 'Molecular Weapon'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080306075226.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
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