Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Key pathological mechanism found in plague bacterium

Date:
December 3, 2012
Source:
Ume universitet
Summary:
A more than 50-year-old question has now been answered. Chemists and microbiologists are now able to describe in detail the role of calcium in the ability of the plague bacterium Yersinias to cause disease.

Yersinia viewed under electron microscope.
Credit: Image courtesy of Ume universitet

A more than 50-year-old question has now been answered. Chemists and microbiologists at the Biological Chemistry Center at Ume University in Sweden are now able to describe in detail the role of calcium in the ability of the plague bacterium Yersinias to cause disease.

In the 14th century, the Black Death claimed the lives of one third of the population of Europe. Even though the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which causes the disease, is regarded as eradicated in Europe, the World Health Organization is still reporting epidemics in Africa, Asia, and America. Bacteria in the Yersinia family can also lead to severe gastrointestinal diseases and diarrheas.

A key question that originated in research done in the 1950s is how calcium can play a critical role in the ability of Yersinia to cause disease. This long-lived issue has now been resolved by an interdisciplinary research team at Ume University who are revealing the molecular mechanism underlying the importance of calcium.

"It was previously known that calcium inhibits an important step during the infection process. We have now identified a specific protein called YscU, which binds calcium, and we believe that this is an important part of the calcium effect," says Hans Wolf-Watz, a senior professor at the Department of Molecular Biology.

Together with Magnus Wolf-Watz, an assistant professor at the Department of Chemistry, he has shown that the breakdown of the protein YscU is a necessary step in the infection process.

"With NMR experiments, we have been able, on the one hand, to study the details surrounding this degradation and, on the other hand, to identify which part of YscU binds to calcium," says Magnus Wolf-Watz.

Nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy is a method used by researchers to determine the structure and composition of molecules. At the joint NMR Center at the Biological Chemistry Center, a new high-field 850 MHz instrument was inaugurated a week ago.

"This new instrument will provide opportunities for exciting new discoveries in our research field and in other fields, and the resource is available to scientists at other Swedish higher-education institutions," says Magnus Wolf-Watz.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Stefan Frost, Oanh Ho, Frdric H. Login, Christoph F. Weise, Hans Wolf-Watz, Magnus Wolf-Watz. Autoproteolysis and Intramolecular Dissociation of Yersinia YscU Precedes Secretion of Its C-Terminal Polypeptide YscUCC. PLoS ONE, 2012; 7 (11): e49349 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049349

Cite This Page:

Ume universitet. "Key pathological mechanism found in plague bacterium." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203082052.htm>.
Ume universitet. (2012, December 3). Key pathological mechanism found in plague bacterium. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203082052.htm
Ume universitet. "Key pathological mechanism found in plague bacterium." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121203082052.htm (accessed October 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, October 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

How Nigeria Beat Its Ebola Outbreak

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The World Health Organization has declared Nigeria free of Ebola. Health experts credit a bit of luck and the government's initial response. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Another Study Suggests Viagra Is Good For The Heart

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) An ingredient in erectile-dysfunction medications such as Viagra could improve heart function. Perhaps not surprising, given Viagra's history. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Ebola Worries End for Dozens on U.S. Watch Lists

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 20, 2014) Forty-three people who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., were cleared overnight of twice-daily monitoring after 21 days of showing no symptoms. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

Beijing Marathon Runners Brave Hazardous Air Pollution

AFP (Oct. 19, 2014) Tens of thousands of runners battled thick smog at the Beijing Marathon on Sunday, with some donning masks as the levels of PM2.5 small pollutant particles soared to 16 times the maximum recommended level. Duration: 00:54 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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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