About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Human Immune Proteins Linked to Bacterial Toxins

by Medindia Content Team on August 24, 2007 at 3:29 PM
Font : A-A+

Human Immune Proteins Linked to Bacterial Toxins

Australian researchers have found that Human immune proteins that is essential for fighting viruses and bacterial infections and cancer is part of the ancient and lethal toxin family found in bacteria which causes disease like anthrax, gas gangrene and scarlet fever. The protein called perforins was discovered a team led by Professor James Whisstock and Dr Michelle Dunstone from Monash University's School of Biomedical Sciences.

Professor Whisstock, winner of the 2006 Science Minister's Prize for Life Scientist of the Year, said the team was stunned when it became clear that the bacterial toxins and perforins had a common ancestor. "Over millions of years of evolution bacteria developed these proteins as weapons of attack," he said. "But animals have evolved these proteins for defence against that attack. It's a molecular arms race and there's still no clear winner."

Advertisement

Professor Whisstock said perforins were so-called because they kill bacteria, virally-infected cells and cancerous cells by punching tiny holes that perforate them. "People who lack one of these perforins can develop a serious blood disease called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis and may be predisposed to develop cancer," he said.

"Perforins are also dangerous molecules. They can create absolute havoc in the immune system if they're not controlled properly. By understanding how they work we can find ways to control them in infectious diseases and areas such as transplantation rejection." Using X-ray crystallography, the team worked out the structure of a perforin called Plu-MACPF, which, due to its similarity to the bacterial toxins, told them how the whole perforin family worked. Their findings are published today in the international journal Science.
Advertisement

Dr Dunstone said the findings were the culmination of nine years of research. "Now we finally know what perforins look like and how they work, we can use this knowledge to develop new ways to fight disease," she said.

Professor Whisstock said certain perforins were not only important for defending humans against attack by bacteria and viruses, but also important for propagating the human species because of their role in embryo implantation. "It is ironic that we fear diseases such as anthrax yet from the same family of toxins comes a protein that is involved in reproduction," he said.

The research team included scientists from the National Health and Medical Research Council's protease systems biology program, the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence in Structural and Functional Microbial Genomics and the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. The X-ray data was collected at the Advanced Photon Source in Chicago.

Source: Eurekalert
BIN/B
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
Long-Term Glycemic Control - A Better Measure of COVID-19 Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Myasthenia Gravis Magical Millets for Your Health Baby Food - Basics Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes Nutrition IQ 

Recommended Reading
Anthrax Claims Two Lives in Orissa
Two people have died of anthrax in Orissa's tribal dominated Koraput district, while five have ......
Now, Just Spray the Anthrax Away
An Australian company is developing an antibody laden gel that can be sprayed onto walls, ceilings ....
Baby Food - Basics
The healthiest baby foods can be made at home. Products from big brands that claim to develop infant...
Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes
Athletes can be physically fit by consuming a well balanced nutritious diet, which keeps them mental...
Magical Millets for Your Health
Millets are far more nutrient dense than wheat and rice. They are inexpensive and tasty too. Nutriti...
Myasthenia Gravis
Myasthenia gravis is the commonest disorder of neuromuscular transmission. Autoimmune myasthenia gra...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use