Navigation Links
Scientists seek answers on what activates deadly anthrax spores

Scientists at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and three other institutions are setting out to find what activates the spores in anthrax, the deadly bacterial infection that is back in the news.

"A key aspect of anthrax spore biology concerns the germination process through which the dormant spore becomes a reproductive, disease-causing bacterium," explained Al Claiborne, Ph.D., the principal investigator. "The potential importance of such a germination control mechanism in anthrax is clear, as spore germination and outgrowth are fundamental to proliferation."

Claiborne, co-director of Wake Forest's Center for Structural Biology, added, "Basic understanding of the regulatory signals that promote germination will enable discoveries leading to drugs that block the process."

The research is being paid for by a $152,687 grant from the Southeast Regional Center of Excellence in Biodefense and Emerging Infections, based at Duke University, one of eight such regional centers funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The other institutions in Claiborne's project include a co-investigator at Virginia Tech and collaborators at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Frederick, Md, and the University of California, San Diego.

The research stems from lessons learned from studying the bacteria that cause Staphylococcus infections and two other bacteria in the same group as anthrax.

Claiborne said the group proposes that a vitamin B5 derivative known as Coenzyme A plays a crucial role in the germination of the anthrax spores. They have already shown that anthrax is missing a similar cofactor called glutathione that is common to many other bacteria, as well as humans.

The researchers are working with a non-pathogenic strain of anthrax. The genome sequences of four strains of the bacteria, known scientifically as Bacillus anthracis, have been determined.

The group also will be exploring the three-dimensional structures and the functions of the proteins involved. State-of-the-art facilities at the Center for Structural Biology will be used to determine how genetic information in the anthrax chromosome translates into a vast array of protein structures, Claiborne said. Once they know the structures, they may not only be able to provide new details on how anthrax develops, but also pick out structural vulnerabilities that are key to designing new therapeutic agents to prevent anthrax.

Interest in determining how to stop anthrax remains high, not only after the 2001 attacks through the mail that resulted in 18 cases and five deaths, but also after the recent scare at two military mailroom facilities when anthrax alarms went off.

The group also would like to understand another closely related bacterium, Bacillus cereus, one strain of which can produce anthrax-like symptoms.

The research team includes Conn Mallett, Ph.D., Derek Parsonage, Ph.D., graduate students Carleitta Paige, Jamie Wallen, and Tim Colussi, and senior research assistants Bill Boles, M.S., and Sumana Choudhury, M.S. Paige earlier received a $161,000 graduate fellowship from the Department of Homeland Security to support her research.


'"/>

Source:Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center


Related biology news :

1. Scientists ID molecular switch in liver that triggers harmful effects of saturated and trans fats
2. Scientists Replicate Hepatitis C Virus in Laboratory
3. Scientists detect probable genetic cause of some Parkinsons disease cases
4. Scientists find missing enzyme for tuberculosis iron scavenging pathway
5. Yale Scientists Find MicroRNA Regulates Ras Cancer Gene
6. Scientists collaborate to assess health of global environment
7. Scientists decipher genome of fungus that can cause life-threatening infections
8. Scientists discover the cellular roots of graying hair
9. Scientists rid stem cell culture of key animal cells
10. Scientists develop new color-coded test for protein folding
11. Scientists identify genetic pathways essential to RNA interference
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 ... EdgeVerve Systems, a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... a partnership to integrate the Onegini mobile security ... (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) The ... enhanced security to access and transact across channels. ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... Israel , April 14, 2016 ... Authentication and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of ... assumed the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment ... on the heels of the deployment of its platform ... BioCatch,s behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... March 23, 2016 ... Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender Anbieter ... Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen ... wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 29, 2016 , ... Summit for Stem Cell has received a $250,000 grant ... stem cell therapy for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The Summit research project is ... Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, CA. , The aim of of ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... Hill, Conn. (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2016 ... ... of financing and ongoing support for Connecticut's innovative, growing companies, today announced the ... digital health and financial technology (fintech) companies. , “VentureClash looks to ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Shimadzu Scientific Instruments (SSI) will be showcasing ... Conference and Expo. Shimadzu’s high-performance instruments enable laboratories to test cannabis products for ... stop by booth 1021 to learn how Shimadzu’s instruments can help improve QA/QC ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... 27, 2016 , ... The Board of Directors of Biohaven ... Tilton as Chief Commercial Officer.  Mr. Tilton joined Biohaven from Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ... responsible for the commercialization of multiple orphan drug indications. Mr. Tilton has ...
Breaking Biology Technology: