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

Meningitis Bacteria Change Key Protein Shape to Escape Detection

by Dr. Enozia Vakil on May 30, 2014 at 12:54 PM
Font : A-A+

 Meningitis Bacteria Change Key Protein Shape to Escape Detection

Bacterial meningitis seems to crop up out of nowhere in the US every once in a while. Part of the disease's danger is the ability of the bacteria to evade the body's immune system, but scientists are now figuring out how the pathogen hides in plain sight. Their findings, which could help defeat these bacteria and others like it, appear in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Linda Columbus and colleagues explain that the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis, one cause of meningitis, and its cousin Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is responsible for gonorrhea, have key-like proteins that allow them to enter human cells and do their damage. Gonorrhea can be cured, though one type of the responsible bacteria has reached "superbug" status, becoming resistant to known drugs. If meningitis is not treated immediately with antibiotics, it can cause severe disability and death.

Advertisement

In a search for new ways to treat these diseases, scientists are looking more closely at how the bacteria sneak around in the body undetected. When someone gets an infection, specific proteins — called antigens — that stud the pathogen's outer layer usually raise an alarm, and the body's immune system goes on the attack. But these two kinds of Neisseria bacteria can elude the body's look-out cells, and Columbus' team wanted to know how.

They combined two approaches to figure out the architecture of one of the bacteria's outer proteins that help it gain entry into human cells. They found that the protein's outer loops that jostle against each other, causing their structure to constantly change. This shape-shifting makes for a kind of camouflage that hides them from the body's sentinels, at the same time preserving its ability to bind to and enter a person's cells. This deeper understanding could help lead to new treatments for bacterial diseases, the scientists state.



Source: Eurekalert
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
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Contraceptive Pills in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Curtail Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Mushroom May Help Cut Down the Odds of Developing Depression
How to Battle Boredom during COVID
View all

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

More News on:
Hib Vaccine Meningitis Shigellosis MRSA - The Super Bug Magical Millets for Your Health Food Safety for Health Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes Nutrition IQ Antibiotics 

Recommended Reading
Meningitis
Meninges are the three layers of membrane that cover the brain and infection of the cerebrospinal .....
Antibiotics
Antibiotics are among the most used and abused medications. This article explains some general featu...
Diet and Nutrition Tips for Athletes
Athletes can be physically fit by consuming a well balanced nutritious diet, which keeps them mental...
Hib Vaccine
The Hib vaccine protects children against infections like meningitis and pneumonia that are caused b...
Magical Millets for Your Health
Millets are far more nutrient dense than wheat and rice. They are inexpensive and tasty too. Nutriti...
MRSA - The Super Bug
MRSA infection is the most dreaded hospital or community acquired infection that can become ......
Shigellosis
Shigellosis or Bacillary Dysentery is a common cause of gastro-enteritis worldwide and can cause blo...

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