New discovery could aid development of elusive bovine mastitis vaccine

Jun 07, 2010

Researchers have discovered components of the bovine mastitis-causing bacterium, Streptococcus uberis that play a key role in the disease. This discovery could lead the way to finally developing a vaccine for this endemic disease, which costs UK farmers alone nearly £200M per year, requires the large scale use of antibiotics, causes pain to cows and dramatically reduces milk yield. A solution to this problem will be an important contribution to the future security of our food supply in the UK. The research is due to be published in Veterinary Research.

BBSRC-funded researcher Professor James Leigh and his team from The University of Nottingham, along with colleagues at the Institute for Animal Health and the University of Oxford, have discovered that Streptococcus uberis - a major cause of bovine mastitis - uses the enzyme SrtA to anchor at its surface the proteins required for it to cause disease. They have also identified the individual anchored proteins that are required for the to withstand the responses within the udder that are trying to eliminate it.

Professor Leigh said: "What's really exciting about this is that we've discovered elements of one of the main culprits in bovine mastitis that could actually lead to a vaccine in the future.

"By identifying which components of the bacteria play a role in causing the disease, we can see exactly where to hit it with a vaccine to stop it ever becoming a problem."

At present bovine mastitis requires the large scale use of antibiotics to treat the disease and we know that this may lead to problems of down the line. Unfortunately, apart from good husbandry, there is little that can be done to prevent the disease at present.

The team is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) under a scheme that aims to find sustainable ways to reduce the impact of endemic diseases of farm animals on the economy of UK farming industry and the welfare of animals that are kept for meat, eggs and dairy products. This is the BBSRC Combating Endemic Diseases of Farmed Animals for Sustainability (CEDFAS) initiative.

Professor Douglas Kell, BBSRC Chief Executive said: "To feed a growing global population we need to increase food production by 70% by 2050. We have to do this in a sustainable and ethical way and ensure that the UK farming industry remains strong. Endemic diseases of farm animals are extremely costly and cause significant welfare issues. This development is a welcome step towards preventing the suffering and losses associated with bovine mastitis."

Explore further: Ideology prevents wheat growers from converting to more profitable methods, new study shows

More information: This research is due to be published in the September-October edition of Veterinary Research in an article entitled "Sortase anchored proteins of Streptococcus uberis play major roles in the pathogenesis of bovine mastitis in dairy cattle". An open access copy of the accepted manuscript is available here: www.vetres.org/articles/vetres… /2010/05/v100007.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How probiotics can prevent disease

Apr 02, 2009

Using probiotics successfully against a number of animal diseases has helped scientists from University College Cork, Ireland to understand some of the ways in which they work, which could lead to them using probiotics to ...

Potato blight plight looks promising for food security

Aug 10, 2009

Over 160 years since potato blight wreaked havoc in Ireland and other northern European countries, scientists funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) finally have the blight-causing pathogen ...

Insight into fish disease to help protect farmed fish stocks

Apr 24, 2009

Researchers funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) have gained a key insight into a disease that is devastating the UK's fish farming industry. The researchers have discovered that fish ...

Groundbreaking, lifesaving TB vaccine a step closer

Oct 08, 2008

Researchers at Aberystwyth University, following a number of years of investment by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), have licensed ground-breaking research to a non-profit product development ...

Veterinary college develops vaccine for Johne's disease

Dec 08, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine have developed a vaccine that prevents Johne's disease, a condition that leads to $220 million to $250 million in losses annually to ...

Recommended for you

Devising a way to count proteins as they group

19 minutes ago

A new study from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and University of California Berkeley researchers reports on an innovative theoretical methodology to solve "the counting problem," which is key to understanding ...

Mysteries of 'molecular machines' revealed

1 hour ago

"Inside each cell in our bodies and inside every bacterium and virus are tiny but complex protein molecules that synthesize chemicals, replicate genetic material, turn each other on and off, and transport ...

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.