New step forward in search for solution to infection puzzle

Aug 06, 2008

Scientists at the University of York have helped to reveal more about the way bacteria can attach to human tissues. The study could help in the development of new treatments for serious heart conditions such as infective endocarditis.

The researchers studied the way a protein found on the surface of the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus binds to a human protein called fibronectin. Their discovery is an important step in understanding how bacteria attach to the surface of blood vessels during infection.

The high-resolution structures of parts of the bacterial protein in complex with multiple fibronectin domains reveals the efficiency with which the bacterial molecule can bind several copies of the human protein, a feature thought to play a role in infection.

Dr Jennifer Potts of the Departments of Biology and Chemistry at York, who led the research said: "Interactions of S. aureus with fibronectin were first reported more than 30 years ago, and yet we still don't understand precisely how and why the bacteria target this human protein.

"Our studies provide a significant step toward solving that issue and could help the future development of new treatments for rare but serious conditions such as infective endocarditis, an infection of the lining or valves of the heart."

The research is published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Source: University of York

Explore further: Researchers find unusually elastic protein

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bacteria coordinate activities with chemical 'language'

Jan 15, 2015

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have discovered a previously unknown chemical language used by many bacterial species to coordinate their activities, and show in a model organism that such ...

How E. coli passes safely through stomach acid

Jan 14, 2015

In some parts of the world, many small children become infected with severe diarrhea which often proves fatal. The condition is usually caused by strains of Escherichia coli (commonly known as E. coli) bacteria, and bacteria ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find unusually elastic protein

6 minutes ago

Scientists at Heidelberg University have discovered an unusually elastic protein in one of the most ancient groups of animals, the over 600-million-year-old cnidarians. The protein is a part of the "weapons system" that the ...

Obama recommends extended wilderness zone in Alaska

15 hours ago

US President Barack Obama said Sunday he would recommend a large swath of Alaska be designated as wilderness, the highest level of federal protection, in a move likely to anger oil proponents.

Uganda seizes massive ivory and pangolin haul

17 hours ago

Ugandan wildlife officers have seized a huge haul of elephant ivory and pangolin scales, representing the deaths of hundreds of endangered animals, police said Sunday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.