Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Don't Stress! Bacterial Cell's 'Crisis Command Center' Revealed

Date:
October 3, 2008
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
A bacterial cell's 'crisis command center' has been observed for the first time swinging into action to protect the cell from external stress and danger, according to new research.

The bacterium Bacillus subtilis, taken using a transmission electron microscope by Allon Weiner, The Weizmann Institute of Science.
Credit: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

A bacteria cell's 'crisis command centre' has been observed for the first time swinging into action to protect the cell from external stress and danger, according to new research published in Science.

Related Articles


The research team behind the new study says that finding out exactly how bacteria respond and adapt to stresses and dangers is important because it will further their understanding of the basic survival mechanisms of some of the most resilient, hardy organisms on Earth.

The crisis command centre in certain bacteria cells is a large molecule, dubbed a 'stressosome' by the scientists behind today's research. These cells have around 20 stressosomes floating around inside them, and although scientists knew they played an important role in the cell's response to stressful situations, the complexities of this process had not been fully understood until now.

If a bacteria cell finds itself in a dangerous situation - for example, if the temperature or saltiness of the bacteria's environment reach dangerous levels which threaten the survival of the bacteria -a warning signal from the cell's surface is transmitted into the cell.

Using cutting edge electron microscopy imaging techniques the authors of the new research observed that the stressosomes receive this warning signal, and in response several proteins called RSBT break away from the large stressosome. This breakaway triggers a cascade of signals within the cell which results in over 150 proteins being produced - proteins which enable the cell to adapt, react and survive in its new environment.

Professor Marin van Heel from Imperial College London's Department of Life Sciences, one of the corresponding authors of the study, explains: "The cascade of events inside bacteria cells that occurs as a result of stressosomes receiving warning signals leads to particular genes inside the cell being transcribed more. This means that some genes already active inside the cell are 'turned up' so that levels of particular proteins in the cell increase. These changes to the protein make-up of the cell enable it to survive in a hostile or challenging environment."

Dr Jon Marles-Wright from Newcastle University says: "Our work shows that cells respond to signals much like a dimmer on a light switch. Now we'll be building on this to work out how nature controls that dimmer switch. We wouldn't have been able to carry out this work without access to the Diamond synchrotron Light Source which has enabled us to examine the structures of individual stressosome proteins at atomic resolution."

Dr Tim Grant, one of Imperial's post doctoral researchers, adds that the key to bacteria cells' success at surviving in rapidly changing environments is their speedy response: "The cell's stressosomes are very good at their job as crisis command centres because they provide a very fast effective response to danger. The chain reaction they kickstart produces results really quickly which enables bacteria to adapt to changes in their surroundings almost instantaneously."

The team is now planning to collect very high resolution data of the stressosome complex on the world's newest high-resolution cryo electron microscope, the FEI "KRIOS" that has just been installed in the Max Planck Institute in Martinsried, Germany. Improving the resolution of the stressosome structure by a factor of two will lead to a resolution range normally only attainable by X-ray crystallography and will allow the researchers to directly see the amino-acid components of this fascinating complex.

This study has been carried out as a collaboration with the research groups of Professor Rick Lewis at Newcastle University and Professor Marin van Heel from Imperial College London.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Jon Marles-Wright et al. Molecular Architecture of the "Stressosome," a Signal Integration and Transduction Hub. Science, 2008; 322 (5898): 92-96 DOI: 10.1126/science.1159572

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Don't Stress! Bacterial Cell's 'Crisis Command Center' Revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172007.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2008, October 3). Don't Stress! Bacterial Cell's 'Crisis Command Center' Revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172007.htm
Imperial College London. "Don't Stress! Bacterial Cell's 'Crisis Command Center' Revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172007.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. 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:

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