Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How cholera bacterium gains a foothold in the gut

Date:
January 27, 2012
Source:
University of York
Summary:
Biologists have made an important advance in our understanding of the way cholera attacks the body. The discovery could help scientists target treatments for the globally significant intestinal disease which kills more than 100,000 people every year.

A team of biologists at the University of York has made an important advance in our understanding of the way cholera attacks the body. The discovery could help scientists target treatments for the globally significant intestinal disease which kills more than 100,000 people every year.

Related Articles


The disease is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which is able to colonise the intestine usually after consumption of contaminated water or food. Once infection is established, the bacterium secretes a toxin that causes watery diarrhea and ultimately death if not treated rapidly. Colonisation of the intestine is difficult for incoming bacteria as they have to be highly competitive to gain a foothold among the trillions of other bacteria already in situ.

Scientists at York, led by Dr. Gavin Thomas in the University's Department of Biology, have investigated one of the important routes that V. cholera uses to gain this foothold. To be able to grow in the intestine the bacterium harvests and then eats a sugar, called sialic acid, that is present on the surface of our gut cells.

Collaborators of the York group at the University of Delaware, USA, led by Professor Fidelma Boyd, had shown previously that eating sialic acid was important for the survival of V. cholerae in animal models, but the mechanism by which the bacteria recognise and take up the sialic was unknown.

The York research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), demonstrates that the pathogen uses a particular kind of transporter called a TRAP transporter to recognise sialic acid and take it up into the cell. The transporter has particular properties that are suited to scavenging the small amount of available sialic acid. The research also provided some important basic information about how TRAP transporters work in general.

The leader of the research in York, Dr. Gavin Thomas, said: "This work continues our discoveries of how bacteria that grow in our body exploit sialic acid for their survival and help us to take forward our efforts to design chemicals to inhibit these processes in different bacterial pathogens."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Christopher Mulligan, Andrew P. Leech, David J. Kelly and Gavin H. Thomas. The Membrane Proteins SiaQ and SiaM Form an Essential Stoichiometric Complex in the Sialic Acid Tripartite ATP-independent Periplasmic (TRAP) Transporter SiaPQM (VC1777–1779) from Vibrio cholera. The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 287, Issue 5, 3598-3608 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M111.281030 jbc.M111.281030

Cite This Page:

University of York. "How cholera bacterium gains a foothold in the gut." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120127135940.htm>.
University of York. (2012, January 27). How cholera bacterium gains a foothold in the gut. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120127135940.htm
University of York. "How cholera bacterium gains a foothold in the gut." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120127135940.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Praying Mantis Looks Long Before It Leaps

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Slowed-down footage of the leaps of praying mantises show the insect&apos;s extraordinary precision, say researchers. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Octopus Grabs Camera and Turns It Around On Photographer

Buzz60 (Mar. 5, 2015) A photographer got the shot of a lifetime, or rather an octopus did, when it grabbed the camera and turned it around to take an amazing picture of the photographer. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

Ringling Bros. Eliminating Elephant Acts

AP (Mar. 5, 2015) The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts. The circus&apos; parent company, Feld Entertainment, told the AP exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018 over growing public concern about the animals. (March 5) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

Raw: Tourists Visit Rare Grey Whales in Mexico

AP (Mar. 4, 2015) Once nearly extinct, grey whales now migrate in their thousands to Mexico&apos;s Vizcaino reserve in Baja California, in search of warmer waters to mate and give birth. Tourists flock to the reserve to see the whales, measuring up to 49 feet long. (March 4) Video provided by AP
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