In a tiny squid, bacterial toxin governs organ development

MADISON - In a tiny Pacific Ocean squid, a toxic molecule that causes whooping cough and gonorrhea in humans has been found to be a critical catalyst for organ development.

The toxin, produced by different types of bacteria in different hosts, is known as tracheal cytotoxin. And the astonishing discovery that it can be either good or bad - depending on its biological context - promises to rattle long-held perceptions of microbes and their role as pathogens.

The new work, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was reported this week (Nov. 12) in the journal Science.

That the same toxic molecule produced by different bacteria in different host animals plays such disparate roles - disease and massive tissue damage on the one hand, and critical organ development on the other - may force biologists to rethink the relationship between the world's many microorganisms and their host plants and animals, according to Margaret McFall-Ngai, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of medical microbiology and the corresponding author of the Science paper.

"It is all context dependent," says McFall-Ngai. "It has to be that we have mechanisms to use these molecules in different ways. Until now, molecules of a virulent nature have not been recognized as having essential roles in development."

In the diminutive Hawaiian bobtail squid, the toxin was found to spur the development of a structure, a light-producing organ that acts as a sort of "Klingon cloaking device," mimicking starlight to confuse hungry predators lurking in the depths. In humans, the same toxic molecule, produced by different species of bacteria, causes massive tissue damage in the lungs in the case of whooping cough, and in the fallopian tubes in the case of gonorrhea.

When the squid are born, they are about half the size of a grain of rice, and they must acquire the toxin-producing bacteria from their oc

Contact: Margaret McFall-Ngai
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. A new plant-bacterial symbiotic mechanism promising
2. UCF professor finds bacterial pathogen may be key to understanding cancer development
3. Researchers discover acquired DNA key to certain bacterial infection
4. Hot on the TRAIL of controlling inflammation in bacterial meningitis
5. A new plant-bacterial symbiotic mechanism promising for crop applications
6. Researchers develop way to calculate speed of bacterial sex
7. Gallium: A new antibacterial agent?
8. New antibacterials being developed to tackle MRSA superbug
9. The pull of bacterial chromosome segregation
10. Green plants share bacterial toxin
11. ASU researchers test antibacterial effects of healing clays

Post Your Comments:

(Date:10/9/2015)... Oct. 09 2015 ... of the "Samsung Galaxy S6 Fingerprint ... to their offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/6g9l3b/samsung_galaxy_s6 ... "Samsung Galaxy S6 Fingerprint Sensor - ... offering. --> Research and Markets ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... , Oct. 8, 2015 Synaptics ... human interface solutions, announced today that it will ... fiscal 2016 on Thursday, October 22, 2015, after ... a corresponding conference call for analysts and investors ... which management may discuss forward-looking information.    ...
(Date:10/8/2015)... CITY , 8. Oktober 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... ein global tätiges Unternehmen des Bereiches Tracking, ... Vertrag mit der Gefängnisbehörde Virginias (Department of ... Rahmen elektronische Überwachungsdienste für alle Strafen geliefert ... Derek Cassell , Präsident für den Amerikanischen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2015)... , Oct. 9, 2015 On October ... the Congressional Record her statement recognizing the third annual ... 11-17. IPAW is sponsored by the Plasma Protein ... is designed to:   , Raise global awareness ... plasma donors in saving and improving lives , ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... Governor Tom Wolf announced today ... on developing T-cell receptor cancer immunotherapy treatments, will create ... expansion project. Pennsylvania , and ... 110 new, high-paying jobs will be created with this ... proposal includes sustained funding for the life science sector ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... HERSHEY, Pa. and ROCKVILLE, ... Therapeutics, Inc. ("ITI"), a privately-held biotechnology company developing ... today announced that it has entered into an ... on LAMP-vax products for the treatment or prevention ... Upon execution of the agreement, Immunomic Therapeutics will ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... , Oct. 9, 2015  DePuy Synthes Trauma* announced ... with Q-PACK ®  Technology**, the only pre-hydrated demineralized ... extremity procedures (foot and ankle, hand and wrist), including ... made here at the 2015 Orthopaedic Trauma Association (OTA) ... natural scaffold for new bone growth) and osteoinductive 2,3 ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: