23 June 2024
Bacteria's Type III Secretion Systems: Pathogen Delivery

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Research delves into how Salmonella and Yersinia, disease-causing bacteria, employ Type III Secretion Systems, or injectisomes, to transport harmful proteins into host cells. These sophisticated molecular ‘shuttle services’ are crucial for bacterial infection, causing significant discomfort in affected individuals. Scientists are exploring these systems not only to combat diseases but also to gain insights into the intricate mechanism of Type III Secretion Systems.

Unraveling the Mystery of Pathogenic Bacteria’s Injection Apparatus



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Published on: July 9, 2017 Description:
Process of Type III Secretion
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Disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella and Yersinia are notorious for their ability to inject harmful proteins into host cells, causing discomfort and illness. Scientists have long been studying these bacteria’s injection mechanism, known as type III secretion systems or “injectisomes,” not only to understand and control diseases but also to potentially use this mechanism for delivering drugs into cells, such as cancer cells.

How Do Bacteria Load Their Syringes?

While the structure of the injectisome has been previously understood, one question remained unanswered: How do bacteria load their syringes with the right proteins to be injected at the right time? In a recent study published in Nature Microbiology, a team of scientists led by Andreas Diepold from the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology and Ulrike Endesfelder from the University of Bonn has shed light on this important process.

The Shuttle Mechanism of Pathogenic Bacteria

The researchers discovered that mobile components of the injectisome act like shuttles, combing through the bacterial cell in search of the proteins, known as effectors, that need to be injected. Once they encounter an effector, they transport it to the gate of the injection needle, similar to a shuttle bus delivering passengers to their destination.

This shuttle mechanism serves a crucial purpose. The bacteria need to inject the right proteins quickly to avoid being recognized and eliminated by the immune system. By efficiently and specifically loading the injectisome, the bacteria can carry out their harmful activities without being detected.

New Techniques for Understanding the Loading Mechanism

To gain insight into the loading mechanism of the injectisome, the researchers had to employ new techniques. Conventional methods used to detect protein interactions were not effective in this case, as the effectors are bound for a short time and immediately injected. Therefore, the team used proximity labeling and single-particle tracking, innovative approaches that work in living cells.

Proximity labeling involves a protein marking its immediate neighbors, allowing the researchers to observe the binding of effectors to the mobile injectisome components. Single-particle tracking, a high-resolution microscopy method, enabled them to follow individual proteins in cells and examine the binding in more detail. These methods, known as “in situ biochemistry,” allowed the researchers to make this breakthrough discovery.

Implications for Future Research

With a better understanding of how bacteria use the injectisome during infections, researchers can explore ways to influence these mechanisms. This knowledge can be used to prevent infections, modify the systems for medical purposes, or apply them in biotechnology.

The team behind this study plans to use their method to investigate other mechanisms that bacteria use to cause infections. By delving deeper into these processes, we can continue to uncover valuable insights that will contribute to the development of effective treatments and strategies against harmful bacteria.

In conclusion, this study has provided us with a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of pathogenic bacteria and their injection apparatus. Through innovative techniques and dedicated research, scientists are unraveling the mysteries of these tiny organisms, paving the way for advancements in medicine and biotechnology.

Read More: Pathogenic bacteria use molecular ‘shuttle services’ to fill their injection apparatus with the right product

https://phys.org/news/2024-01-pathogenic-bacteria-molecular-shuttle-apparatus.html

FAQ’s

1. What is the injectisome and why is it important?

The injectisome is the injection mechanism used by disease-causing bacteria to inject harmful proteins into host cells. It is important because it helps us understand and control diseases caused by these bacteria, and it also has potential applications in drug delivery.

2. How do bacteria load their syringes with proteins?

Previously, this process was not well understood. However, a recent study has revealed that mobile components of the injectisome act like shuttles, searching for the proteins to be injected and transporting them to the injection needle.

3. What techniques were used to study the loading mechanism?

The researchers used proximity labeling and single-particle tracking, innovative approaches that work in living cells. Proximity labeling allowed them to observe the binding of proteins to the mobile injectisome components, while single-particle tracking enabled them to follow individual proteins in cells and examine the binding in more detail.

4. What are the implications of this research?

With a better understanding of how bacteria use the injectisome, researchers can explore ways to prevent infections, modify the system for medical purposes, or apply it in biotechnology. This knowledge can lead to the development of effective treatments and strategies against harmful bacteria.

5. What are the future research plans?

The team behind this study plans to use their method to investigate other mechanisms that bacteria use to cause infections. By delving deeper into these processes, they hope to uncover valuable insights that will contribute to advancements in medicine and biotechnology.



Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Salmonella (bacteria), Yersinia (bacteria), Type III Secretion System (biology)

Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped (bacillus) gram-negative bacteria of the family Enterobacteriaceae. The two known species of Salmonella are Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori. S. enterica is the type species and is further divided into six subspecies that include over 2,600 serotypes. Salmonella was named after Daniel Elmer Salmon...
Read more: Salmonella

Yersinia
Yersinia is a genus of bacteria in the family Yersiniaceae. Yersinia species are Gram-negative, coccobacilli bacteria, a few micrometers long and fractions of a micrometer in diameter, and are facultative anaerobes. Some members of Yersinia are pathogenic in humans; in particular, Y. pestis is the causative agent of the plague....
Read more: Yersinia

Type III secretion system
The type III secretion system (T3SS or TTSS) is one of the bacterial secretion systems used by bacteria to secrete their effector proteins into the host's cells to promote virulence and colonisation. While the type III secretion system has been widely regarded as equivalent to the injectisome, many argue that...
Read more: Type III secretion system

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