Home  |  Top News  |  Most Popular  |  Video  |  Multimedia  |  News Feeds  |  Feedback
  Medicine  |  Nature & Earth  |  Biology  |  Technology & Engineering  |  Space & Planetary  |  Psychology  |  Physics & Chemistry  |  Economics  |  Archaeology
Top > Biology > Scientists Reveal How Cholera Bacterium… >
Scientists Reveal How Cholera Bacterium Gains a Foothold in the Gut

Published: January 27, 2012.
By University of York
http://www.york.ac.uk

A team of biologists at the University of York has made an important advance in our understanding of the way cholera attacks the body. The discovery could help scientists target treatments for the globally significant intestinal disease which kills more than 100,000 people every year.

The disease is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which is able to colonise the intestine usually after consumption of contaminated water or food. Once infection is established, the bacterium secretes a toxin that causes watery diarrhoea and ultimately death if not treated rapidly. Colonisation of the intestine is difficult for incoming bacteria as they have to be highly competitive to gain a foothold among the trillions of other bacteria already in situ.

Scientists at York, led by Dr. Gavin Thomas in the University's Department of Biology, have investigated one of the important routes that V. cholerae uses to gain this foothold. To be able to grow in the intestine the bacterium harvests and then eats a sugar, called sialic acid, that is present on the surface of our gut cells.

Collaborators of the York group at the University of Delaware, USA, led by Professor Fidelma Boyd, had shown previously that eating sialic acid was important for the survival of V. cholerae in animal models, but the mechanism by which the bacteria recognise and take up the sialic was unknown.

The York research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), demonstrates that the pathogen uses a particular kind of transporter called a TRAP transporter to recognise sialic acid and take it up into the cell. The transporter has particular properties that are suited to scavenging the small amount of available sialic acid. The research also provided some important basic information about how TRAP transporters work in general.

The leader of the research in York, Dr. Gavin Thomas, said: "This work continues our discoveries of how bacteria that grow in our body exploit sialic acid for their survival and help us to take forward our efforts to design chemicals to inhibit these processes in different bacterial pathogens."

The research is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and was primarily the work of Dr Christopher Mulligan, a postdoctoral fellow in the Dr Thomas's laboratory.



Translate this page: Chinese French German Italian Japanese Korean Portuguese Russian Spanish


 
All comments are reviewed before being posted. We cannot accept messages that refer a product, or web site.If you are looking for a response to a question please use our another feedback page.
Related »

Bacteria 
11/26/12 

Microbial 'Missing Link' Discovered After Man Impales Hand on Tree Branch
By National Science Foundation
Bacteria 
5/10/12 
★★★ 
Virginia Tech And University of Tuscia Lead Team to Unravel Origin of Devastating Kiwifruit Bacterium
By Virginia Tech
An international research team led by Virginia Tech Associate Professor Boris Vinatzer and Giorgio Balestra of the University of Tuscia in Italy has used the latest DNA sequencing technology …
Environment 
12/2/13 
★★★ 
How Bacteria Respond So Quickly to External Changes
By Uppsala University
Understanding how bacteria adapt so quickly to changes in their external environment with continued high growth rates is one of the major research challenges in molecular microbiology. This is …
Aeruginosavorus 
11/1/11 
★★ 
Fighting Fire with Fire: 'Vampire' Bacteria Has Potential as Living Antibiotic
By University of Virginia
A vampire-like bacteria that leeches onto specific other bacteria – including certain human pathogens – has the potential to serve as a living antibiotic for a range of infectious …
Bacteria 
11/17/11 
Researcher Determines How Legionnaires' Bacteria Proliferate, Cause Disease
By University of Louisville
A University of Louisville scientist has determined for the first time how the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease manipulates our cells to generate the amino acids it needs to …
More » 
 
© Newsline Group  |  About  |  Privacy Policy  |  Feedback  |  Mobile  |  Japanese Edition