Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

X-ray laser helps slay parasite that causes sleeping sickness

06.12.2012
An international team of scientists, using the world’s most powerful X-ray laser, has revealed the three dimensional structure of a key enzyme that enables the single-celled parasite that causes African trypanosomiasis (or sleeping sickness) in humans.
With the elucidation of the 3D structure of the cathepsin B enzyme, it will be possible to design new drugs to inhibit the parasite (Trypanosoma brucei) that causes sleeping sickness, leaving the infected human unharmed.

The research team, including several ASU scientists, is led by the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY) scientist Henry Chapman from the Center of Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL), professor Christian Betzel from the University of Hamburg and Lars Redecke from the SIAS joint Junior Research Group at the Universities of Hamburg and Lübeck. They report their findings this week in Science.

"This is the first new biological structure solved with a free-electron laser," said Chapman of the development.

"These images of an enzyme, which is a drug target for sleeping sickness, are the first results from our new ‘diffract-then-destroy’ snapshot X-ray laser method to show new biological structures which have not been seen before,” explained John Spence, ASU Regents’ Professor of Physics. “The work was led by the DESY group and used the Linac Coherent Light Source at the U.S. Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory."

Transferred to its mammalian host by the bite of the tsetse fly, the effects of the parasite are almost always fatal if treatment is not received. The sleeping sickness parasite threatens more than 60 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and annually kills an estimated 30,000 people. Current drug treatments are not well tolerated, cause serious side effects and the parasites are becoming increasingly drug resistant.

“This paper is so exciting as it is based on nanocrystals grown by the groups at DESY in Hamburg and at the University of Lübeck inside living insect cells,” said Petra Fromme, a professor in ASU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “This is the first novel structure determined by the new method of femtosecond crystallography. The structure may be of great importance for the development of new drugs to fight sleeping sickness, as it shows novel features of the structure of the CatB protein, a protease that is essential for the pathogenesis, including the structure of natural inhibitor peptide bound in the catalytic cleft of the enzyme.”

An additional difficulty includes the fact that the cathepsin B enzyme is also found in humans and all mammals. However the discovery of the enzyme’s 3D structure has enabled the researchers to pinpoint distinctive structural differences between the human and the parasite’s form of the enzyme. Subsequent drug targets can selectively block the parasite’s enzyme, leaving the patient’s intact.

In addition to Spence and Fromme, other ASU members of the team are Bruce Doak, professor of physics; Uwe Weierstall, research professor in physics; faculty research associates Raimund Fromme, Ingo Grotjohann and Tzu-Chiao Chao; Nadia Zatsepin, post-doctoral researcher, graduate students Christopher Kupitz (Biochemistry), D. Wang (Physics) and Mark Hunter and Richard Kirian who graduated with Ph.D.s from ASU in Chemistry and Physics respectively and now work on the femtosecond crystallography project at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and DESY.

The ASU group developed the sample delivery system, worked on the characterization of the crystals with dynamic light scattering and SONNIC and did the early development work on the new data analysis method. All ASU participants are members of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

International team members in addition to those already mentioned include researchers from the Max Planck Institute, Heidelberg, University of Gothenburg, University of Tübingen and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Jenny Green, jenny.green@asu.edu
480-965-1430
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Jenny Green | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.asu.edu

Further reports about: 3D structure ASU Biochemistry DESY Max Planck Institute drug treatment

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neue Einblicke in die Materie: Hochdruckforschung in Kombination mit NMR-Spektroskopie

Forschern der Universität Bayreuth und des Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) ist es erstmals gelungen, die magnetische Kernresonanzspektroskopie (NMR) in Experimenten anzuwenden, bei denen Materialproben unter sehr hohen Drücken – ähnlich denen im unteren Erdmantel – analysiert werden. Das in der Zeitschrift Science Advances vorgestellte Verfahren verspricht neue Erkenntnisse über Elementarteilchen, die sich unter hohen Drücken oft anders verhalten als unter Normalbedingungen. Es wird voraussichtlich technologische Innovationen fördern, aber auch neue Einblicke in das Erdinnere und die Erdgeschichte, insbesondere die Bedingungen für die Entstehung von Leben, ermöglichen.

Diamanten setzen Materie unter Hochdruck

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Stabile Quantenbits

Physiker aus Konstanz, Princeton und Maryland schaffen ein stabiles Quantengatter als Grundelement für den Quantencomputer

Meilenstein auf dem Weg zum Quantencomputer: Wissenschaftler der Universität Konstanz, der Princeton University sowie der University of Maryland entwickeln ein...

Im Focus: Realer Versuch statt virtuellem Experiment: Erfolgreiche Prüfung von Nanodrähten

Mit neuartigen Experimenten enträtseln Forscher des Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht und der Technischen Universität Hamburg, warum winzige Metallstrukturen extrem fest sind

Ultraleichte und zugleich extrem feste Werkstoffe – poröse Nanomaterialien aus Metall versprechen hochinteressante Anwendungen unter anderem für künftige...

Im Focus: Geburtshelfer und Wegweiser für Photonen

Gezielt Photonen erzeugen und ihren Weg kontrollieren: Das sollte mit einem neuen Design gelingen, das Würzburger Physiker für optische Antennen erarbeitet haben.

Atome und Moleküle können dazu gebracht werden, Lichtteilchen (Photonen) auszusenden. Dieser Vorgang verläuft aber ohne äußeren Eingriff ineffizient und...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Innovative Strategien zur Bekämpfung von parasitären Würmern

08.12.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Hohe Heilungschancen bei Lymphomen im Kindesalter

07.12.2017 | Veranstaltungen

Der Roboter im Pflegeheim – bald Wirklichkeit?

05.12.2017 | Veranstaltungen

 
VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Goldmedaille für die praktischen Ergebnisse der Forschungsarbeit bei Nutricard

11.12.2017 | Unternehmensmeldung

Nachwuchs knackt Nüsse - Azubis der Friedhelm Loh Group für Projekte prämiert

11.12.2017 | Unternehmensmeldung

Mit 3D-Zellkulturen gegen Krebsresistenzen

11.12.2017 | Medizin Gesundheit