Tuesday 11 November 2014

Microbiology of serious human disease

Scientists at the University's Centre for Biomolecular Sciences have shed new light on how two proteins found on many human cells are targeted by the human pathogen Neisseria meningitidis which can cause life-threatening meningitis and septicaemia.

The proteins, laminin receptor (LAMR1) and galectin-3 (Gal-3) are found in and on the surface of many human cells. Previous research has shown they play diverse roles in a variety of infectious and non-infectious diseases. For example, the LAMR1 is a key receptor targeted by disease-causing pathogens and their toxins and is also a receptor for the spread of cancer around the body and for the development of Alzheimer's.

Using the latest bimolecular fluorescence and confocal imaging techniques, the researchers have shown that these two separate proteins can form pairs made up of two similar molecules (homodimers) or one of each molecule (heterodimers) which are targeted by Neisseria meningitidis. They have also identified critical components which cause the formation of these pairs of molecules.

These new mechanistic insights into the three-way relationship between proteins and bacterial pathogens could have significant implications in the fields of infection, vaccination and cancer biology.

For further details see:

F. Alqahtani, J. Mahdavi, L. M. Wheldon, M. Vassey, N. Pirinccioglu, P.-J. Royer, S. M. Qarani, S. Morroll, J. Stoof, N. D. Holliday, S. Y. Teo, N. J. Oldfield, K. G. Wooldridge, D. A. A. Ala'Aldeen. Deciphering the complex three-way interaction between the non-integrin laminin receptor, galectin-3 and Neisseria meningitidis. Open Biology, 2014; 4 (10): 140053 DOI: 10.1098/rsob.140053

Posted by Tim Sandle

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