Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How cholera bacteria becomes infectious

Date:
February 12, 2010
Source:
Dartmouth College
Summary:
Researchers have described the structure of a protein called ToxT that controls the virulent nature of Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria that causes cholera. Buried within ToxT, the researchers were surprised to find a fatty acid that appears to inhibit ToxT, which prevents the bacteria from causing cholera.

In a new study, Dartmouth researchers describe the structure of a protein called ToxT that controls the virulent nature of Vibrio cholerae, the bacteria that causes cholera. Buried within ToxT, the researchers were surprised to find a fatty acid that appears to inhibit ToxT, which prevents the bacteria from causing cholera. Cholera, which causes acute diarrhea, can be life threatening, and, according to the World Health Organization, cholera remains a serious threat to global health.

Related Articles


Doctors have known that bile, found in the intestine, inhibits the expression of the virulence genes in V. cholerae, but until now, the mechanism behind this was not completely understood. This study provides a direct link between the environment of the gut and the regulation of virulence genes, and it also identifies the regulatory molecule.

"Finding a fatty acid in the structure was quite a surprise," says F. Jon Kull, associate professor of chemistry at Dartmouth and senior author on the paper. Kull is also a 1988 graduate of Dartmouth. "The exciting thing about this finding is that we might be able to use a small, natural molecule to treat and/or prevent cholera. We will also use the structure of the fatty acid as a framework to try and design a small molecule inhibitor of ToxT."

Kull's co-authors on the paper are Michael Lowden and Maria Pellegrini with the Department of Chemistry at Dartmouth; Michael Chiorazzo, a summer undergraduate research fellow; and Karen Skorupski and Ronald Taylor with the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Dartmouth Medical School.

The researchers used X-ray crystallography to determine the structure of ToxT. The process involves taking DNA from V. cholerae and using non-pathogenic E. coli bacteria to produce large amounts of the target protein, in this case, ToxT. Once protein has been purified, it is concentrated and crystallized. Then the crystal, which is an ordered array of protein molecules, is subjected to a powerful X-ray beam. The pattern of diffracted X-rays is collected on a detector and then analyzed using mathematical algorithms, eventually revealing the atomic structure of the protein.

Co-author Taylor also notes that "The results of the study are exciting from the points of view of both the mechanistic aspect of the complex regulation of V. cholerae virulence gene expression and the potential medical impact as we now move forward to apply this new knowledge to influence this mechanism to control infection in humans."

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Lowden et al. Structure of Vibrio cholerae ToxT reveals a mechanism for fatty acid regulation of virulence genes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0915021107

Cite This Page:

Dartmouth College. "How cholera bacteria becomes infectious." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100212101257.htm>.
Dartmouth College. (2010, February 12). How cholera bacteria becomes infectious. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100212101257.htm
Dartmouth College. "How cholera bacteria becomes infectious." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100212101257.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Galapagos Tortoises Bounce Back, But Ecosystem Lags

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) The Galapagos tortoise has made a stupendous recovery from the brink of extinction to a population of more than 1,000. But it still faces threats. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

Obama: The US Will Not 'run and Hide' From Ebola

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Surrounded by health care workers in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama said the U.S. will likely see additional Ebola cases in the weeks ahead. But he said the nation can't seal itself off in the fight against the disease. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Oatmeal Healthy Recipes and Benefits

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) Oatmeal is a fantastic way to start your day. Whichever way you prepare them, oats provide your body with many health benefits. In celebration of National Oatmeal Day, Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has a few recipe ideas, and tips on how to kickstart your day with this wholesome snack! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
GoPro Video Gives a Lion's-Eye View of The Hunt

GoPro Video Gives a Lion's-Eye View of The Hunt

Buzz60 (Oct. 29, 2014) If you’ve ever wondered what getting takeout looks like for lions in Africa, the GoPro video from Lion Whisperer Kevin Richardson will give you a lion’s-eye view of the hunt. Jen Markham has more. 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