Researchers report the detailed structure of a key protein that helps bacteria talk to each other. The new finding could help devise new drugs targeting this protein.
Many bacteria communicate by sending molecules to each other. Such communication, called quorum sensing, helps them grow within a host without harming it, until they reach a certain concentration and become more aggressive. Of the many bacteria known to communicate by quorum sensing, Pseudomonas aeroginosa is the most studied because it causes death in the majority of cystic fibrosis sufferers and in AIDS patients, burn victims, and cancer patients.
Matthew Bottomley and colleagues described the chemical structure of the uppermost protein in the hierarchy of quorum sensing molecules. This protein, called LasR, activates other proteins that make the chemicals the bacteria use to communicate. The new result could help design new drugs against P. aeroginosa that inhibit LasR.
Article: "Molecular Insights into Quorum Sensing in the Human Pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa from the Structure of the Virulence Regulator LasR Bound to its Autoinducer" by Matthew J. Bottomley, Ester Muraglia, Renzo Bazzo & Andrea Carfì
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