Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular basis of infection of tick-transmitted disease uncovered

Date:
October 12, 2012
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
Researchers have identified the "keys" and "doors" of a bacterium responsible for a series of tick-transmitted diseases. These findings may point researchers toward the development of a single vaccine that protects against members of an entire family of bacteria that cause disease in humans, domestic animals and livestock.

The image depicts two Anaplasma phagocytophilum bacteria (arrows) that are bound to the surfaces of host cells. The bacterium on the right (thick arrow) is invading its host cell by triggering its own uptake. A team of VCU researchers led by Jason Carlyon, Ph.D., has identified a key mechanism by which this pathogen invades host cells. Their findings provide a direction for developing a vaccine for protecting against A. phagocytophilum and related bacterial pathogens.
Credit: Image courtesy of Jason Carlyon, Ph.D. and Matthew J. Troese, Ph.D./VCU

Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers have identified the "keys" and "doors" of a bacterium responsible for a series of tick-transmitted diseases. These findings may point researchers toward the development of a single vaccine that protects against members of an entire family of bacteria that cause disease in humans, domestic animals and livestock.

Survival for many bacteria is dependent on their ability to invade human or animal cells. And it needs to be done in a very precise fashion. Bacteria use a specific set of "keys" on their surfaces to unlock specific "doors," or entryways into their host cells.

By understanding how these bacteria invade cells, researchers are able to identify potential targets to block the spread of infection, and from there, develop safe and effective vaccines.

In the study, now published online and appearing in the November (Volume 80, Issue 11) issue of the journal Infection and Immunity, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology, researchers reported that a protein called OmpA on the surface of Anaplasma phagocytophilum is important for invading host cells. Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an Anaplasmataceae bacterium that infects humans to cause granulocytic anaplasmosis. It is the second most common tick-transmitted disease after Lyme disease in the United States, and it also is found in Europe and Asia.

The team also identified the particular sugar residue on the surfaces of host cells to which OmpA binds.

"In other words, we identified both a key and door that together promote Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection," said lead investigator Jason A. Carlyon, Ph.D., associate professor and a George and Lavinia Blick Scholar in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in the VCU School of Medicine.

"These findings are important because our data also establish a direction for development of a single vaccine that protects against members of an entire family of bacteria that cause disease in humans, domestic animals and livestock," he said.

According to Carlyon, the region of OmpA that mediates infection is shared among other Anaplasmataceae bacteria.

Experts have seen a steady rise in the incidence of human infections caused by tick-transmitted bacterial pathogens in the past several years. Many tick-transmitted bacterial pathogens are considered "emerging pathogens" because it was only recently discovered that they infect humans. Moreover, evidence suggests that many of these infections go unrecognized, signifying that the prevalence of human diseases caused by Anaplasmataceae pathogens is even higher, said Carlyon. Livestock infections carry a significant economic burden, costing the U.S. cattle industry $100 million per year, he added.

Researchers in Carlyon's lab are presently refining their understanding of how OmpA promotes infection and testing its efficacy in protecting against infection by A. phagocytophilum and other Anaplasmataceae members.

The findings of the VCU-led study were also highlighted in a commentary that appeared in the same issue of the journal, authored by two experts in the field, including Guy H. Palmer, DVM, Ph.D., director, Creighton chair and Regents professor in the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health at the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and Susan M. Noh, Ph.D., also with Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

For this work, VCU has filed a patent. At this time, U.S. and foreign rights are available, and the team is seeking commercial partners to further develop this technology.

Carlyon collaborated with VCU School of Medicine researchers Nore Ojogun, Ph.D.; Amandeep Kahlon, Ph.D.; Matthew J. Troese, Ph.D.; and Rachael J. Thomas, Ph.D., all former postdoctoral fellows in the VCU Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Carlyon's lab; Stephanie A. Ragland, former laboratory technician in the VCU Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Lauren VieBrock, graduate student in the VCU Department of Microbiology and Immunology, both also in Carlyon's lab; Juliana E. Masttronunzio, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow in the Yale University School of Medicine, and Erol Fikrig, M.D., Waldemar Von Zedtwitz professor of medicine and epidemiology and microbial pathogenesis in the Yale University School of Medicine, and investigator with Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and section chief of infectious diseases; and Naomi J. Walker, technician with the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine, and Dori L. Borjesson, Ph.D., professor from the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine.

This study was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health grants R01 AI072683, R01AI072683-04S1, and R21 AI090170 (to Carlyon) and R01 AI141440 (to Fikrig). The VCU Flow Cytometry and Imaging Shared Resource Facility is supported, in part, by funding from NIH-NCI Cancer Center Support Grant 5 P30 CA016059.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. N. Ojogun, A. Kahlon, S. A. Ragland, M. J. Troese, J. E. Mastronunzio, N. J. Walker, L. VieBrock, R. J. Thomas, D. L. Borjesson, E. Fikrig, J. A. Carlyon. Anaplasma phagocytophilum Outer Membrane Protein A Interacts with Sialylated Glycoproteins To Promote Infection of Mammalian Host Cells. Infection and Immunity, 2012; 80 (11): 3748 DOI: 10.1128/IAI.00654-12

Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "Molecular basis of infection of tick-transmitted disease uncovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121012141558.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2012, October 12). Molecular basis of infection of tick-transmitted disease uncovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121012141558.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "Molecular basis of infection of tick-transmitted disease uncovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121012141558.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Monkeys Are Better At Math Than We Thought, Study Shows

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) A Harvard University study suggests monkeys can use symbols to perform basic math calculations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. 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:
from the past week

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