New research could provide new insights into tuberculosis, other diseases

Sep 18, 2012 by William G. Gilroy
New research could provide new insights into tuberculosis and other diseases

(Phys.org)—Researchers Patricia A. Champion and Matthew Champion from the University of Notre Dame's Eck Institute for Global Health have developed a method to directly detect bacterial protein secretion, which could provide new insights into a variety of diseases including tuberculosis.

The Champions point out that bacteria use a variety of secretion systems to transport proteins beyond their cell membranes in order to interact with their environment. For bacterial pathogens such as TB, these systems transport bacterial proteins that promote interaction with host cells, leading to virulent disease.

Previously, researchers have relied on methods that have fused enzymes or fluorescent markers to bacterial proteins to identify that are used to export bacterial proteins into host cells. However, these methods can't be used in the analysis of all bacterial secretion systems, which has limited understanding of the mechanisms that bacteria use to interact with host cells.

The Champions developed a modified form of bacterial proteomics using a MALDI-TOF , which directly detects the proteins from whole colonies by ionizing them with a laser. This research revealed that the method was able to specifically monitor a specialized form of , which is a major virulence determinant in both mycobacterial pathogens, such as TB, and Gram-positive pathogens, such as Bacillus and Staphylococcus species.

The Champions demonstrated that this new method is applicable to the study of other export systems that could not be effectively studied under previous methods. Their method could also help in the identification of compounds that can inhibit bacterial protein secretion.

The method's importance can be seen in the fact that there are approximately 2 million fatal TB cases each year, mostly in the developing world. Also, antibiotic-resistant strains of TB are appearing increasingly.

The Champions' research findings appeared in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics. The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Notre Dame's Center for Rare and Neglected Diseases as well as capitalization funds from Notre Dame.

Explore further: New tool identifies therapeutic proteins in a 'snap'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Decoding the molecular machine behind E. coli and cholera

Feb 09, 2012

Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have discovered the workings behind some of the bacteria that kill hundreds of thousands every year, possibly paving the way for new antibiotics that could treat infections ...

Toward pinpointing the location of bacterial infections

Jan 02, 2007

In an advance in the emerging field of bacterial imaging, scientists are reporting development of a method for identifying specific sites of localized bacterial infections in living animals. Bradley D. Smith at the University ...

Structure mediating spread of antibiotic resistance identified

Jan 08, 2009

Scientists have identified the structure of a key component of the bacteria behind such diseases as whooping cough, peptic stomach ulcers and Legionnaires' disease. The research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology ...

Recommended for you

New tool identifies therapeutic proteins in a 'snap'

Aug 21, 2014

(Phys.org) —In human and bacterial cells, glycosylation – the chemical process of attaching complex sugar molecules to proteins – is as fundamental as it gets, affecting every biological mechanism from cell signaling ...

Treating pain by blocking the 'chili-pepper receptor'

Aug 20, 2014

Biting into a chili pepper causes a burning spiciness that is irresistible to some, but intolerable to others. Scientists exploring the chili pepper's effect are using their findings to develop a new drug ...

Moving single cells around—accurately and cheaply

Aug 19, 2014

Scientists at the Houston Methodist Research Institute have figured out how to pick up and transfer single cells using a pipette—a common laboratory tool that's been tweaked slightly. They describe this ...

The difficult question of Clostridium difficile

Aug 19, 2014

The bacterium Clostridium difficile causes antibiotic-related diarrhoea and is a growing problem in the hospital environment and elsewhere in the community. Understanding how the microbe colonises the hu ...

User comments : 0