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Medicine Science

Proteins Build "Cages" Around Bacteria 73

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the take-em-on-down-to-the-appendix dept.
ananyo writes "Research in human cells shows that proteins called septins are able to build cages around pathogens to prevent them from infecting other cells. According to the researchers, the newly discovered defense system could lead to new therapies for diseases. The microbes trapped in the cage are later broken down by the cell."
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Proteins Build "Cages" Around Bacteria

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now the only thing that stands in the way is government red tape.

    • by shentino (1139071)

      And patents.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 05, 2011 @10:20PM (#38275880)

      Now the only thing that stands in the way is government red tape.

      Government is bad, blah blah blah. Nevermind that governments are responsible for much of this fundamental research. Through public schools, public institutions and grants. Blah blah blah, shut up.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Now the only thing that stands in the way is government red tape.

        Government is bad, blah blah blah. Nevermind that governments are responsible for much of this fundamental research. Through public schools, public institutions and grants. Blah blah blah, shut up.

        Apparently you are not familiar with the concept of too much of a good thing being bad for you. :-)

      • Aren't you afraid if you continue to suppress the strawmen that they will rise in revolt against you?

        I'm game, though.

        Government has done good things, blah blah blah. Nevermind that we have no idea how that money might otherwise have been spent. Blah blah blah, this is fun.

      • by OldHawk777 (19923) * <adelovant@@@verizon...net> on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:43AM (#38280324) Journal

        The government over the last 40 years has proportionally cut funding to all theoretical and applied science, medicine, and engineering. If BigBiz-Brother is not interested in the research outcome, then no funding comes from BigBiz-Brother. BigBiz-Brother will fund interpretations and falsifications of research results for more corporate-welfare laws. The cure for big-profit diseases is close to impossible (almost accidental) in the present environment, but treatments for big-profit diseases are very innovative, competitive, and highly profitable.

        Presently it is un-American, when corporate-welfare will be adversely impacted, to cure any big-profit diseases ; Hence, the government is not adding much to the deficit for cures that would disrupt the global economy for the plutocrats.

        I heard someone say that poor-people make much better lab-rats for testing expensive treatments.

        Governance of BigBiz-Brother is a possible reality, but not likely for US.
        Governance of US by BigBiz-Brother politician-proxies is a present actuality.

      • by Plugh (27537)

        Quoth AC:
        Government is bad, blah blah blah. Nevermind that governments are responsible for much of this fundamental research. Through public schools, public institutions and grants. Blah blah blah, shut up

        For everyone who fundamentally disagrees with this person, don't bother debating him on the internet.
        Join [freestateproject.org] the rest of us in Real Life.
        We're here, waiting to welcome you HOME

    • by mcavic (2007672)
      The government is standing in the way of IPv6 adoption? I didn't even realize.
  • Perhaps, if this approach ends up working, not only could it be used for treating diseases but possible could be used to prevent diseases by somehow encoding them into genes. Not sure if you would do that just for folks who have a history of a disease or offer such a solution to a larger group much in the way we do inoculation for disease.
    • by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday December 05, 2011 @10:23PM (#38275904)

      Yes, program your genes to build cages around cells. What could go wrong with that?

      Well, except for the fact that the majority of cells in the human body aren't, technically, human at all. There are more bacterial cells [scientificamerican.com] than human ones. So, snarky comments aside, that would be extremely dangerous. You might be able to select only dangerous cells, but I very much doubt it. Not genetically, anyways. Anti-bacterial agents need to be targeted specifically, or you can do more harm than good.

      • by erick99 (743982) *
        I agree with everything you said. But it still intrigues me and it could still be a part of another solution that needed the last piece of a puzzle. But, yes, there would be a lot of not-so-good unintended consequences.
      • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday December 05, 2011 @11:08PM (#38276230)

        I have to laugh at you and the grandparent... all I can say is RTFA! :)

        Our cells already use septins to build cages around bacterial pathogens - this research just is the first time someone has observed it in human cells. The talk of new drugs is in how to artificially encourage this behavior.

      • by mrxak (727974)

        Certainly an interesting article, but while I don't claim to be an expert, your understanding seems more limited than mine. The bacteria your link discusses are very different than the ones being talked about in TFA. Your bacteria are rather helpful, and they aren't invading human cells and screwing them up. The ones being talked about in TFA are doing significant harm and the cells' natural defense mechanism is what's being researched.

        Actually, the use of these special walls talked about in TFA might have

  • Prison (Score:4, Funny)

    by cyachallenge (2521604) on Monday December 05, 2011 @10:15PM (#38275856)
    "I ain't done nuffin! Letme out bitches!"
    • by macraig (621737)

      More like Death Row in Texas, since they get "broken down" later. That broken down part might inform our Death Row approach, though: maybe instead of chemical poisoning we can digest them with enzymes in a giant Venus fly trap?

    • "You're my little bacterium now..."

    • Welcome to federal pound-me-in-the-lysosome prison!

  • Our amazing bodies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday December 05, 2011 @10:29PM (#38275944)

    Our bodies continue to amaze me. So complex systems, so adaptable and flexible. And the second amazing part is of course that we are able to "see" those molecular processes, can figure out how it happens, and subsequently manipulate it.

    And of course this complexity and flexibility is not limited to the human body but basically all life forms on this planet. The more we learn about life, the more amazing it becomes.

    • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Monday December 05, 2011 @10:36PM (#38276000)
      Thats what happens when you're got ~3 billion years of evolution (or 6000 years of creation, if you're moderately retarded)
    • Our bodies continue to amaze me. So complex systems, so adaptable and flexible. And the second amazing part is of course that we are able to "see" those molecular processes, can figure out how it happens, and subsequently manipulate it. And of course this complexity and flexibility is not limited to the human body but basically all life forms on this planet. The more we learn about life, the more amazing it becomes.

      We're never able to grasp anything in the body completely. We had detailed maps of anatomy in the middle ages, but we had no proper theory on how the body worked. Most of us look back at the four humors (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humorism/ [wikipedia.org]) and laugh. Agreed, biology is amazing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Our bodies continue to amaze me.

      They continue to disappoint me.

      If you take a single bullet in a seemingly insignificant area and don't receive treatment, you'll probably die. Your teeth are incredibly fragile (brushing too hard is bad, most people get cavities, etc). Your bones are fragile. Everything about the human body is fragile.

      Weak and pathetic. That probably applies to most other creatures as well.

      • The body has two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, two kidneys, two lungs, two testes or ovaries. Makes sense.

        OK, so why does it have only ONE HEART and ONE TRACHEA? Huh? Huh? How much sense does that make? Whether you believe in evolution or intelligent design, makes no difference, that just doesn't figure. Just about the two most short term vital organs in the body. Yeah, I know, the brain. That's why I said "just about." But I can see why there is only one brain. Think about it.

        Actually, it seems to me that

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @01:40AM (#38276922)

          The limitation of evolution is this: each successive version needs to be a slight modification on the previous version. Some forward and backward compatibility is available.

          Way back, we more or less worked as worms. A two layer set of cells shaped as a tube: one set inside the tube, which specialized in taking food in one end, digesting it, and spitting the waste out the other end, and the other outside the tube, protecting the organism, sensing for sources and danger, and working out which way to point. Bilateral symmetry is great for this: You have an advantage over predators since it's equally likely you'll go one way vs. the other, rather than having an obvious preference for, say, left turns. Why not higher orders of symmetry, say trilateral? Because we evolved in a gravity field, so mutations that take advantage of up and down (top-mount legs aren't that useful) tend to get kept while those that prefer left over right don't.

          So why one trachea? Because when we swam, the gill system worked the best. It was more or less self-balancing and redundant where it needed to be: at the oxygen exchangers. Plus it reused the existing tech of single-intake. If you have two mouths, either you're buying twice as many parts just to eat twice as fast (could you even?) or you just lost the ability to eat larger things. So since there was little benefit in two mouths, it got abandoned. A twin-trachea setup would require a more complex (read: easier to break) epiglottis, and have balancing issues. So it got ditched: it cost too much to get rid of the single point of failure.

          Also, having the mouth route to both the esophagus and trachea as another feature: safety! See, food goes in the opening that leads to the esophagus. Now if the food gets stuck, the folks with the trachea and esophagus routed to the mouth have an advantage: they can use the lungs to blow the blockage free. There are other features: cilia move contaminants out of the lungs to get trapped by nasal mucus and routed down to the esophagus: with two mouths, the breathing one would have to get thing all the way out to the outside by itself, and contaminants that entered via the eating mouth could only be kicked out one way: throwing up. So we'd leave a trail of phlegm and vomit for predators to find. Then there's how the sense of smell augments the sense of taste because they share the airway, which again makes you more survivable...

          All the paired items you name derive from the bilateral symmetry modification. They arose on the sides of the worm, and here we are. The brain is rather bilaterally symmetric itself, and quite redundant. You might have noticed the slot in the middle?

          As for one heart: multiple hearts have been tried! The aforementioned worms eventually evolved to have several hearts. Problem is, they're weak, and put together they won't move the needed blood volume at the needed pressure. The single-heart design is simply more optimized: it's lighter for its capacity and you need no complex regulation system to coordinate them to prevent one's mistiming from blowing out the valves on the other.

          Again, if you were designing from scratch, you could do a better design. Whether it can be packed into 46 chromosomes without being cancer-riddled is TBD, of course. But that's more evidence that evolution is at fault: the "small changes a step at a time" plan won over the "rewrite from scratch so it will be better" way, because you had to survive, even in intermediate forms. A lot like software, really.

          BTW, if one of your trachea gets plugged, don't wait a week. You'll be immediately down half your lung capacity, you'll only have one lung with which to blow the chunk out, you'll have to coordinate both sides so you don't blow the chunk out one and into the other, and all the time you wait the bacteria in there are going to be going to town turning anything of you they can eat into more of them. So yeah, things that encourage procrastination might get you killed (read: make you less survivable).

          • Someone mod this guy up, please
          • by jovius (974690)

            The limitation of evolution is this: each successive version needs to be a slight modification on the previous version.

            I'd add that practically infinite amount of modifications have provided to be unsuccesful - it's a blind process. The strength lies in diversity. The more diverse the gene pool the readier the pool is to confront even relatively sudden changes, because a lot of variations are readily available.

            The ID/Creationists only see the one perfect path because of their religious belief. It would not be right for them to say that god makes 99 wrong decisions per 1 right, because it would degrade the image of an omnipo

          • by Phyvo (876321)

            "Bilateral symmetry is great for this: You have an advantage over predators since it's equally likely you'll go one way vs. the other, rather than having an obvious preference for, say, left turns."

            I'm pretty sure that it's very common for prey animals like fish to actually prefer turning one direction over the other to escape and that many predators have actually adapted to this behavior, preferring to strike from a position where the prey animal will flee closer to them.

            "The brain is rather bilaterally sy

        • The trachea is composed of 2 symmetric halves, you could say that there are 2 half tracheas. You might have 2 eyes, but the second eye isn't redundant, it's for depth perception. Same with 2 ears. You need both kidneys under cases of heavy load. Same with needing 2 lungs if you get a UTI. The second testes is a spare, as well as the second ovary, I agree there.

          The heart is composed of 2 separate hearts, you just need both to survive. And there's a terrible design flaw here, obviously : the coronary a

        • That's all that's required.

          How much sense does that make?

          Logic? Vanity more like. You are nothing more than a chemical reproduction machine. Don't get above yourself.
           

        • by cashman73 (855518)
          OK, so why does it have only ONE HEART and ONE TRACHEA?

          I am a Time Lord, you insensitive clod!

        • How much sense does that make? Whether you believe in evolution or intelligent design, makes no difference, that just doesn't figure

          It does. Evolution tends towards locally optimal solutions for passing on genes. Individual survival is not an important trait. In fact it's a problem, because it means that the new generation competes with the older one, reducing the population turnover rate and slowing the process of evolution (which requires frequent mutations). If 80% of the populations survives long enough to produce offspring then that's great for evolution.

          Intelligent design is different. Either your creator hates you or your

      • Think about this though: the squishy frail material that makes up our bodies is also extremely energy efficient. Yes, it is much easier to damage us but it is likewise much easier to repair and even replicate. Compare that to durable artificial machines, yes they are more durable but compared to us require an extreme amount of energy to repair or replicate.

        So you see there is a trade off. We *could* be made of more durable chemicals, but then we would require more time and energy to heal or procreate.
    • It is also amazing to see the cellular processes!

      Video of a Neutrophil granulocytes white blood cell chasing a Staphylococcus aureus bacteria by David Rogers, Vanderbilt University 1950s http://www.biochemweb.org/neutrophil.shtml [biochemweb.org] (video mirror http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnlULOjUhSQ [youtube.com] )

      This video is taken from a 16-mm movie made in the 1950s by the late David Rogers at Vanderbilt University. It was given to me via Dr. Victor Najjar, Professor Emeritus at Tufts University Medical School and a former colleague of Rogers. It depicts a human polymorphonuclear leukocyte (neutrophil) on a blood film, crawling among red blood cells, notable for their dark color and principally spherical shape. The neutrophil is "chasing" Staphylococcus aureus microorganisms, added to the film. The chemoattractant derived from the microbe is unclear but may be complement fragment C5a, generated by the interaction of antibodies in the blood serum with the complement cascade, and/or bacterial N-formyl peptides. Blood platelets adherent to the underlying glass are also visible. Notable is the characteristic asymmetric shape of the crawling neutrophil with an organelle-excluding leading lamella and a narrowing at the opposite end culminating in a "tail" that the cell appears to drag along. Contraction waves are visible along the surface of the moving cell as it moves forward in a gliding fashion. As the neutrophil relentlessly pursues the microbe it ignores the red cells and platelets. However, its leading edge is sufficiently stiff (elastic) to deform and displace the red cells it bumps into. The internal contents of the neutrophil also move, and granule motion is particularly dynamic near the leading edge. These granules only approach the cell surface membrane when the cell changes direction and redistributes its peripheral "gel." After the neutrophil has engulfed the bacterium, note that the cell's movements become somewhat more jerky, and that it begins to extend more spherical surface projections. These bleb-like protruberances resemble the blebs that form constitutively in the M2 melanoma cells missing the actin filament crosslinking protein filamin-1 (ABP-280) and may be telling us something about the mechanism of membrane protrusion.

      Thomas P. Stossel (Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School), June 22, 1999

  • by Joe Torres (939784) on Monday December 05, 2011 @11:23PM (#38276290)
    If you think this is cool, then you should look up the work of Dr. Jason Shear at the University of Texas (http://jshear.cm.utexas.edu/jshear/). His laboratory designs cages/houses/traps for bacteria. One of his papers that I am familiar with is "Probing Prokaryotic Social Behaviors with Bacterial 'Lobster Traps'" (http://mbio.asm.org/content/1/4/e00202-10.full).
  • 1 Cell leaves :P

  • I thought the Septims turned into dragon statues or something to stop infections.

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