One day, medical compounds could be introduced into cells with the help of bacterial toxins
Pathogens can use a range of toxins to damage their host organism. Bacteria, such as those responsible for causing the deadly Plague, use a special injection mechanism to deliver their poisonous contents into the host cell. Stefan Raunser, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, together with his team, has already produced a detailed analysis of this toxin’s sophisticated mechanism. They have now succeeded in replacing the toxin in this nano-syringe with a different substance. This accomplishment creates a basis for their ultimate goal to use bacterial syringes as drug transporters in medicine.
As soon as bacteria have entered a host organism, they deploy their lethal weapon. Just like a syringe needle, they insert a channel through the outer protective layer of the host cell. The toxic protein contained in the capsule is then injected and attacks the cell’s structural framework. Within just a few minutes, the cell dies.
Raunser’s team discovered this lethal mechanism by using cryo-electron microscopy, a technique employed by only a few research groups in the world. What this technique reveals is the three-dimensional structure of proteins in near-atomic resolution.”
Targeted injection into body cells
Stefan Raunser’s researchers have now found a way to replace the toxin in the bacteria’s nano-syringe with different proteins, and then inject them into cells. For the exchange to work, however, the proteins must fulfil certain criteria: they must be a particular size, be positively charged, and must not interact with the toxin capsule. “With this technique, we have taken the first step towards our ultimate goal of using these nano-syringes in medicine to introduce drugs into body cells in a targeted manner,” says Raunser, describing the successful research results.
To transfer its toxic charge into the host cell, the injection mechanism must first dock with the cell. But the bacteria must trick the host cell- by pretending that the toxin is a substance that can be safely absorbed – similar to the famous trojan horse trick. To do this, they have areas that are recognized by sensors on the cell surface.
“We are currently looking for the toxin’s ‘docking stations’. Once we have found them and understood how the toxin binds to the cell surface, we aim to specifically modify the injection mechanism so that it can recognize cancer cells. We could then inject a killer protein exclusively into tumour cells. This would open up completely new possibilities in cancer medicine with minimal side effects,” predicts Raunser.
Learn more: Protein injections in medicine
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Meadville firm helps put vaccination shots into arms.on February 27, 2021 at 4:00 am
In the battle against COVID-19, a Meadville area firm is helping put vaccination shots into arms. A machine designed and built by NuTec Tooling Systems allows a medical equipment maker to automate ...
- State lawmakers consider bill to outlaw needle exchangeson February 25, 2021 at 11:00 pm
But I do have friends who are still struggling and I’m doing this for them.” Full-service harm reduction programs — often called needle exchanges — exist primarily to prevent the spread of infectious ...
- Earwax: Should It Be Removed?on February 23, 2021 at 4:00 pm
The syringe is filled with warm water ... Earwax serves an important protective function in your body. It helps fight bacterial ear infections and protects the inside of the ear.
- Morgantown shows how syringe exchanges save lives. But a bill before the West Virginia Legislature would outlaw themon February 22, 2021 at 4:30 pm
As Charleston confronts a rise in HIV cases, look only 150 miles north to find an effective harm reduction program with community support.
- Steam: Uses and Challenges for Device Sterilizationon February 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm
These combination devices, such as drugs in syringes, drugs on catheters ... Sterilization, by definition, destroys or eliminates resistant microbes, including bacterial spores such as anthrax.
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Global Non-Invasive Drug Delivery Device Market 2020 Product Introduction, Recent Developments, Competitive Landscape and Dynamics by 2025on February 28, 2021 at 11:08 am
Global Non-Invasive Drug Delivery Device Market 2020 by Manufacturers, Regions, Type and Application, Forecast ...
- Z-SC1's Cutting-Edge Messenger Portable Freezer Revolutionizes Clinical Trials and Drug Deliveryon February 26, 2021 at 6:44 am
Z-SC1’s messenger portable freezer simplifies the logistics of safely transporting vaccines, making it easier to perform clinical trials and drug delivery.
- Topical Drug Delivery Market Share, Types, Applications, Products, Size, Growth, Insights and Forecasts Report 2027on February 25, 2021 at 10:47 pm
The global topical drug delivery market is expected to register high revenue growth and reach a market size of ...
- Topical Drug Delivery Market Worth USD 145.68 Billion at 6.3% CAGR by Emergen Researchon February 25, 2021 at 12:45 pm
The global topical drug delivery market is mainly driven by major increase in prevalence of skin diseases, infections, and conditions that require application of topical drugs and solutions.
- Beam Therapeutics acquires a biotech focused on drug deliveryon February 23, 2021 at 2:53 pm
The Cambridge-based gene editing company is acquiring Georgia Tech spinout Guide Therapeutics for $120 million upfront.