Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cholera discovery could revolutionize antibiotic delivery

Date:
October 19, 2012
Source:
Simon Fraser University
Summary:
Scientists have made a discovery that could help revolutionize antibiotic treatment of deadly bacteria. They have explained how Vibrio cholerae became a deadly pathogen thousands of years ago. Two genes within V. cholerae's genome make it toxic and deadly. The bacterium acquired these genes when a bacterial virus or bacteriophage called CTX-phi infected it.

Three Simon Fraser University scientists are among six researchers who've made a discovery that could help revolutionize antibiotic treatment of deadly bacteria.

Lisa Craig, Christopher Ford and Subramaniapillai Kolappan, SFU researchers in molecular biology and biochemistry, have explained how Vibrio cholerae became a deadly pathogen thousands of years ago.

V. cholerae causes the diarrheal disease cholera, which is endemic in many developing countries and can emerge in regions devastated by war and natural disasters. An outbreak following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti has killed at least 7,500 people.

Two genes within V. cholerae's genome make it toxic and deadly. The bacterium acquired these genes when a bacterial virus or bacteriophage called CTX-phi infected it.

The SFU researchers and their colleagues at the University of Oslo and Harvard Medical School propose that a Trojan horse-like mechanism within V. cholerae enabled CTX-phi to invade it.

The CTX-phi latches onto a long, hair-like pilus filament floating on the surface of V. cholerae. The filament then retracts, pulling the toxin-gene-carrying CTX-phi inside the bacterium where it binds to TolA, a protein in the bacterial wall.

The process transforms V. cholerae into a deadly human pathogen.

The Journal of Biological Chemistry has just published a paper written by the researchers describing the atomic structures of the CTX-phi protein pIII alone and bound to V. cholera TolA.

The authors recommend that pilus filaments be explored further as a transport mechanism to deliver antibiotics into a bacterium.

"We'd be exploiting the pilus retraction mechanism to introduce antibiotics directly into a cell, bypassing its outer membrane barrier," explains Craig. The SFU associate professor is an expert on the role that pili play in bacterial infections.

"We do have antibiotics for V. cholerae, but these antibiotics also kill beneficial bacteria in the gut. The idea of using pili as a Trojan horse for antibiotic delivery is new and allows us to specifically and effectively target a given bacterial pathogen."

Craig says her team's discovery of V. cholerae's retractable pili is made all the more exciting by the simplicity of its workings. "We know that other deadly bacteria have retractable pili but it'll be much easier to isolate how the mechanism can be used to uptake antibiotics in Vibrio cholerae."

Craig says using pili as an antibiotic delivery mechanism to treat Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a deadly bacterial respiratory infection that hits mainly people with Cystic Fibrosis, could save many lives.

Christopher Ford is a research associate in Craig's lab. Subramaniapillai Kolappan, one of Craig's master's students, recently graduated from SFU.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. C. G. Ford, S. Kolappan, H. T. H. Phan, M. K. Waldor, H. C. Winther-Larsen, L. Craig. Crystal Structures of a CTX  pIII Domain Unbound and in Complex with a Vibrio cholerae TolA Domain Reveal Novel Interaction Interfaces. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2012; 287 (43): 36258 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M112.403386

Cite This Page:

Simon Fraser University. "Cholera discovery could revolutionize antibiotic delivery." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121019153239.htm>.
Simon Fraser University. (2012, October 19). Cholera discovery could revolutionize antibiotic delivery. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121019153239.htm
Simon Fraser University. "Cholera discovery could revolutionize antibiotic delivery." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121019153239.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
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