Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Road mapping could be key to curing TB

Date:
February 8, 2010
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
The complex chain of metabolic events in bacteria that lead to fatal diseases such as tuberculosis may be better understood using mathematical models, according to a new article.

The complex chain of metabolic events in bacteria that lead to fatal diseases such as tuberculosis (TB) may be better understood using mathematical models, according to an article published in the February issue of Microbiology Today.

Related Articles


Scientists at the University of Surrey are using this new 'systems biology' approach to try and understand the metabolic changes that occur in the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis which allow it to survive dormant in host cells for decades. A more complete knowledge of these changes could allow new drugs to be developed against such 'persistent' bacterial cells, which in turn would revolutionise TB control.

The classic approach to understanding biological functions in mammals and microbes alike has been based on the assumption that a single gene is primarily responsible for a single function -- which can be inhibited by simply blocking the gene. This gene-centric approach has led to huge breakthroughs in scientific understanding of cellular processes, but is less useful for understanding complex functions such as metabolism. In this case, blocking a single gene does not impair function because other genes in the network are able to compensate to maintain that function. This suggests it may be more realistic to assume that many genes are likely to have minor roles in any number of functional pathways.

Professor Johnjoe McFadden who works on TB at the University of Surrey likens metabolic pathways in cells to Britain's road network. "For example, we may identify a particular road, say the A45, that takes goods from Birmingham to Coventry and call it the BtoC road -- or BtoC gene," he said. "Blocking the A45 might be expected to prevent goods from Birmingham reaching Coventry. But of course it doesn't because there are lots of other ways for the goods to get through. In truth, the 'road' (or gene) from BtoC isn't just the A45, but includes all those other routes."

A good starting point to study functional pathways is a mathematical model of the cell that takes into account the system properties of the whole network, rather than focussing on key control points. Professor McFadden explains how microbes are well suited to this systems-level approach. "Microbes have fewer genes to interact with each other making computational modelling simpler. Also, unlike multicellular organisms, microbes are able to precisely control their growth. This 'steady-state growth' is an important assumption that mathematical models are based on."


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. "Road mapping could be key to curing TB." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205102556.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2010, February 8). Road mapping could be key to curing TB. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205102556.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Road mapping could be key to curing TB." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100205102556.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. 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:

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