Vanderbilt researchers have identified an important causative factor in Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax and has used it as a life -threatening weapon. The findings, reported in the journal Nature Communicationsprovides new insights into bacterial gene regulation and could lead to new antibacterial treatment developments.
B. anthracis produces dormant spores – an infectious form of litter – that can survive in the environment for up to ten years. Although rare in the U.S., B. anthracis is found in soils around the world and is the cause of widespread disease in animals, wildlife and humans.
It is considered one of the most widely used for bioterrorism, as long spores can be released unnoticed, for example in dust, trash, food or the water. In 2001, powdered B. anthracis spores sent by mail in the U.S. caused anthrax in 22 people; five of them died.
Like other bacterial diseases, B. anthracis has developed systems that allow it to survive and improve the environment. These “two-group systems” (TCSs) have a protein sensor that detects weight and a protein response that modifies the gene expression to solve the problem. Some TCSs are present in other protein modulators.
“Both systems are common in bacteria, but they are not in humans and animals, making them interesting targets for the development of novel antibacterial agents,” he said. said Eric Skaar, Ph.D., MPH, Ernest W. Goodpasture Professor of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology and director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation.
Skaar’s team previously identified B. anthracis TCS called HitRS, which responds to disruption of the cell envelope (the outer protective layers of the bacterial infection). It is unclear, Skaar said, how the HitRS signal will be manipulated to ensure the accuracy of the response in times of cell envelope damage.
Postdoctoral Fellow Hualiang Pi, Ph.D., led the studies to find the editors of HitRS. Using an unbiased genetic selection model, the researchers identified a regulatory protein they called KrrA. They found that KrrA acted as a solid RNA protein that binds to HitRS messenger RNA (mRNA, the “expression” type of gene ready to be translated into protein) and changes its stability.
KrrA was seen in public works before the HitRS treatment, they found.
“We found that KrrA also binds to more than 70 other RNAs, and is directly or indirectly related to the expression of 150 genes involved in processes related to genetic competence, sporulation, RNA. turnover, DNA repair, transport and cellular metabolism, ”said Pi, previously. author of the study.
KrrA did not show an RNA -degrading activity, and the mechanism of action that alters mRNA binding is unclear, Pi said.
“Understanding how B. anthracis detects and responds to external threats allows us to direct these systems to the development of new antibiotic drugs to take care of,” he said. Skaar.
The anthrax bacteria can change
Hualiang Pi et al, An RNA-binding protein that acts as a major post-transcriptional modulator in Bacillus anthracis, Nature Communications (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41467-022-29209-4
Presented by Vanderbilt University
Directions: Research on Bacterial Bioterrorism (2022, April 8) Retrieved 8 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04-advances-bacterial-bioterrorism-agent. html
This document is subject to copyright. Except for appropriate action for the purpose of personal inquiry or research, no piece may be reproduced without permission. Information is provided for informational purposes only.