In mapping the structure of short-lived bacterial 'switches,' biochemist may find novel answer to antibiotic resistance

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Atom by atom, a Brandeis University researcher and her colleagues have unmasked the structure of ephemeral protein "switches" that play a critical role in transforming mild-mannered bacteria into lethal parasites. The finding, reported in the Dec. 23 issue of the journal Nature, raises the prospect of a novel kind of antibiotic to fill the void left by growing resistance among many bacteria to traditional drugs.

The research, led by Brandeis biochemist Dorothee Kern, also involved scientists from the University of Wisconsin, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and the University of California at Berkeley.

Current-generation antibiotics, which kill off normal strains of bacteria while leaving resistant ones unaffected, essentially select for the survival of resistant strains, sometimes inducing resistance in as little as six months. The protein family Kern describes in the Nature paper represents a potential target for a whole new class of antibiotics to specifically prevent pathogenic bacteria from becoming virulent and attacking the body's cells.

"Most conventional antibiotics work by inhibiting processes essential to cell viability, such as DNA translation or the assembly of cell membranes," says Kern, an assistant professor of biochemistry at Brandeis. "Few attempts have been made to target the mechanisms by which pathogenic bacteria become virulent and infect host cells."

Part of a two-component system that dominates signal transduction in bacteria, the phosphate-juggling protein switch mapped out by Kern and her colleagues works by snatching a single phosphate ion from the amino acid histidine. The phosphorylated protein then binds to bacterial DNA, turning on genes such as those that instigate infection. These protein switches are ubiquitous in bacteria, but aren't found in humans -- making them an ideal target for antibiotics.

The protein switch studied by Kern is part of

Contact: Steve Bradt
Brandeis University

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Gene mapping key to unlocking human secrets, says geneticist
2. Barn owls steer Stanford researcher to clues about visual and auditory mapping
3. International consortium launches genetic variation mapping project
4. Infrared antenna for nano-size mapping of crystal vibrations
5. Rutgers scientists mapping DNA links to complex diseases
6. Protecting the rice bowl: Chromosomal mapping of the rice blast fungus
7. Scientists to prototype cyberinfrastructure for research and education access to ocean observatories
8. Emory researchers map structure of anti-cancer molecule
9. Argonne scientists determine structure of staph, anthrax enzyme
10. UCSD undergraduates participate in collaborative studies abroad on cyberinfrastructure
11. Crystal structure for anthrax-cell binding complex

Post Your Comments:

(Date:5/16/2019)... ... ... SFC Fluidics, Inc. (SFC) has partnered with two companies, Diabeloop SA ... awarded to SFC Fluidics in 2018 by JDRF. , JDRF is sponsoring this project ... with type 1 diabetes (T1D). By accelerating the development of a next-generation miniaturized and ...
(Date:5/14/2019)... N.Y. (PRWEB) , ... May 13, 2019 , ... ... be participating in the BIOMEDevice Expo in Boston on May 15-16, 2019, the ... medical technology industry including, MedTech, design engineering, and embedded systems product organizations. , ...
(Date:5/8/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... May 08, 2019 , ... ... – has successfully leveraged the support services provided by Medrio , the ... a clinical trial sponsor agreement. , By collaborating to position high-quality CRO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/25/2019)... ... April 23, 2019 , ... Frank is an albino, deaf Great Dane. His owners rescued him ... to his health issues. Despite his hearing impairment, he was always an active and playful ... play all day, every day. As the two grew, playtime became rougher and Frank ended ...
(Date:4/16/2019)... ... April 16, 2019 , ... Fulcrum Biometrics ... announced that Bank South Pacific (BSP), the largest regionally owned bank in the ... Fulcrum a contract to deliver a fingerprint-based Know Your Customer (KYC) banking solution ...
(Date:4/10/2019)... ... April 10, 2019 , ... After more than three ... The new kitchen is equipped with updated appliances and modern lighting and fixtures, and ... venue. , “We’ve seen tremendous growth in the demand for our team-building ...
(Date:4/8/2019)... Utah and BOSTON (PRWEB) , ... April 08, ... ... delivering cloud-based enterprise-class unified communications and collaboration solutions, announced today the launch of ... integration to an unprecedented range of business and contact-orientated applications while using CT ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: