Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Virus uses 'Swiss Army knife' protein to cause infection

Date:
August 18, 2011
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
In an advance in understanding Mother Nature's copy machines, motors, assembly lines and other biological nano-machines, scientists are describing how a multipurpose protein on the tail of a virus bores into bacteria like a drill bit, clears the shavings out of the hole and enlarges the hole. They report on the "Swiss Army knife" protein, which enables the virus to pump its genetic material into and thus infect bacteria.

In an advance in understanding Mother Nature's copy machines, motors, assembly lines and other biological nano-machines, scientists are describing how a multipurpose protein on the tail of a virus bores into bacteria like a drill bit, clears the shavings out of the hole and enlarges the hole.

They report on the "Swiss Army knife" protein, which enables the virus to pump its genetic material into and thus infect bacteria, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Akio Kitao and colleagues focus on a group of viruses termed "bacteriophages," which literally means "bacteria eaters." These viruses infect bacteria like E. coli and usually make the bacteria dissolve. Infection involves injecting their own DNA or RNA into the bacteria, so that the viral genetic material takes over control of the bacteria. The tools for doing so are among numerous invisible nanomachines -- so small that 50,000 would fit across the width of a human hair -- that work unnoticed in organisms ranging from microbes to people.

The scientists recreated intricate details of the protein's work as it helps the tail of the virus infect E. coli bacteria. Their computer models show that the protein performs tasks in a regular sequence, starting with a screw-like motion as it begins to penetrate the outer membrane of E. coli. The protein acts as a cell-puncturing bit, a pipe to draw away membrane debris and a tool to enlarge the puncture hole, among other functions. The infection process demonstrates "a case where a single-function protein acquired multiple chemical functions" as different parts of its structure come in contact with bacterial membrane proteins.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-Japan (MEXT) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST).


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Wataru Nishima, Shuji Kanamaru, Fumio Arisaka, Akio Kitao. Screw Motion Regulates Multiple Functions of T4 Phage Protein Gene Product 5 during Cell Puncturing. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2011; 110805163002095 DOI: 10.1021/ja204451g

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Virus uses 'Swiss Army knife' protein to cause infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110817094928.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2011, August 18). Virus uses 'Swiss Army knife' protein to cause infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110817094928.htm
American Chemical Society. "Virus uses 'Swiss Army knife' protein to cause infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110817094928.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

Raw: Rare Lion Cubs Make Debut at Belgrade Zoo

AP (Oct. 17, 2014) Two white lion cubs were born in Belgrade zoo three weeks ago. White lions are a rare mutation of a species found in South Africa and some cultures consider them divine. (Oct. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

Sweet Times for Hard Cider Makers

AP (Oct. 16, 2014) With hard cider making a hardcore comeback across the country, craft makers are trying to keep up with demand and apple growers are tapping a juicy new revenue stream. (Oct. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Meet Garfi the Angry Cat

Buzz60 (Oct. 16, 2014) Garfi is one frowny, feisty feline - downright angry! Ko Im (@koimtv) introduces us to the latest animal celebrity taking over the Internet. You can follow more of Garfi's adventures on Twitter (@MeetGarfi) and Facebook (Garfi). 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