Cleaving to survive: the complex life of pathogenic bacteria
Bacteria are much more complex than we give them credit for say scientists studying how pathogenic bacteria use a process known as “cleavage” to expand the functional capacity of proteins. They hope their insights into how and where cleavage occurs will shed light on the critical functional motifs within proteins and gain deeper insight into the functional complexity of proteins. These studies will underpin efforts to hasten develop of vaccines urgently needed to protect both human and animal health.
The results of international collaborations, published in two Scientific Reports papers, is giving a better understanding of how pathogenic bacteria such as Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus use enzymes to cleave proteins into smaller functional pieces. Protein processing represents a novel mechanism to unlock the full functional capabilities of proteins that traffic to different cellular locations. The researchers say that cleavage can re-define and expand the functional capacity of proteins.
Led by University of Technology Sydney (UTS) ithree institute scientists, new chemical tagging methods helped identify the extent of protein cleavage in M. hyopneumoniae, a bacteria causing huge losses in the swine industry worldwide. The research team was surprised to find that many proteins, particularly those on the bacterial cell surface were a target of processing events. These cleavage fragments are then able interact with the host.
Read the full story on the ithree institute site.