Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists help identify possible botulism blocker

Date:
October 11, 2013
Source:
University of California - Irvine
Summary:
Scientists have decoded a key molecular gateway for the toxin that causes botulism, pointing the way to treatments that can keep the food-borne poison out of the bloodstream.

Study leaders created a three-dimensional crystal model of a complex protein compound in the botulinum neurotoxin.
Credit: Illustration courtesy of Rongsheng Jin, UC Iriving

U.S. and German scientists have decoded a key molecular gateway for the toxin that causes botulism, pointing the way to treatments that can keep the food-borne poison out of the bloodstream.

Study leaders Rongsheng Jin, associate professor of physiology & biophysics at UC Irvine, and Andreas Rummel of the Institute for Toxicology at Germany's Hannover Medical School created a three-dimensional crystal model of a complex protein compound in the botulinum neurotoxin. This compound binds to the inner lining of the small intestine and allows passage of the toxin into the bloodstream.

The 3-D structure -- shaped much like the Apollo lunar landing module -- let the researchers identify places on the surface of the complex protein that enable it to dock with carbohydrates located on the small intestine's interior wall. In tests on mice, they found that certain inhibitor molecules blocked the botulism compound from connecting to these sites, which prevented the toxin from entering the bloodstream.

Botulinum neurotoxins are produced by Clostridium botulinum and cause the possibly fatal disease botulism, which impedes nerve cells' ability to communicate with muscles and can lead to paralysis and respiratory failure. The botulinum toxin has also been identified as a potential biological weapon against a civilian population.

"Currently, there is no efficient countermeasure for this toxin in case of a large outbreak of botulism," Jin said. "Our discovery provides a vital first step toward a pharmaceutical intervention at an early point that can limit the toxin's fatal attack on the human body."

Study results appear online in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens.

Jin added that his work opens the door to further development of preventive treatments for botulism. At the same time, the molecular gateway for the lethal toxin could be exploited for alternative applications, such as the oral delivery of protein-based therapeutics.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Kwangkook Lee, Shenyan Gu, Lei Jin, Thi Tuc Nghi Le, Luisa W. Cheng, Jasmin Strotmeier, Anna Magdalena Kruel, Guorui Yao, Kay Perry, Andreas Rummel, Rongsheng Jin. Structure of a Bimodular Botulinum Neurotoxin Complex Provides Insights into Its Oral Toxicity. PLoS Pathogens, 2013; 9 (10): e1003690 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003690

Cite This Page:

University of California - Irvine. "Scientists help identify possible botulism blocker." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131011135345.htm>.
University of California - Irvine. (2013, October 11). Scientists help identify possible botulism blocker. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131011135345.htm
University of California - Irvine. "Scientists help identify possible botulism blocker." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131011135345.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. 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