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Researchers from Tübingen reveal a strategy for scaling muscle-resistant muscles

Please note the delivery period by Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 19:00 CET / 18:00 London Time

Researchers at the University of Typingen and the German Center for Disease Research (DZIF) have made a significant step in decrypting muscular-resistant microorganisms. The team led by Professor Andreas Peshel and Professor Tilo Stellet could explain the structure and function of a previously unknown protein, by which fearful pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus protect from the human immune system and with a cloak of invisibility. The study was published in Nature magazine on Wednesday.

Bacterial infections such as Staphylococcus aureus cause numerous deaths worldwide. Especially fears in hospitals are species resistant to antibiotic methicillin, Staphylococcus aureus strains or MRSA for short. According to a study published in early November, in the EU, only 670,000 pathogens resist multidrug in 2015. 33,000 patients died.

As a rule, our immune system manages well pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses. In some bacteria, however, defense strategies of the human body fail, especially in immunocompromised patients. Unfortunately, antibiotics are ineffective against resistant pathogens. Effective antibiotics for replacement and protective MRSA vaccine are still not visible. Accurate understanding of defense mechanisms can allow new therapies against bacteria.

Researchers at the University of Tübingen have now described how MRSA bacteria are invisible to the immune system. They could show that many of the most commonly used microorganisms MRSA have acquired a previously unknown protein, which means that pathogens are not already recognized by immune system antibodies. Scientists from Tibingen gave the protein named TarP (short for ribino-ribatol from teichoic acid).

"TarP changes the pattern of sugar molecules on the surface of the pathogen in a way that has never been seen before," said Professor Andreas Peshel of the Intercultural Institute of Microbiology and Infectious Medicine at the University of Typingen. "This means that the immune system can not produce antibodies to the most important MRSA antigen, dicofiallic acid". The immune system is not just "blind". It also loses the most important weapon against the pathogen.

Reproduced from phages
Researchers from Tubingen suggest that the bacterial cloak of invisibility is the result of a conflict between pathogens and their natural enemies, the so-called phages. Bacteriophage is a class of viruses that attack bacteria, uses them as a host cell and feeds on them. In this case, phage apparently reprogrammed its host using TarP protein, which changes the surface of the bacterium.

The first authors of the work, David Gerlach and Yinglang Guo, managed to clarify the mechanism and structure of TarP. "Now we understand in detail how the protein works at the molecular level as an enzyme," said Gerlach. Structural-functional analysis of TarP is an excellent basis for the development of new active substances that block TarP and make the pathogen recognized for the immune system. Particularly important for the success of this work was an interdisciplinary approach, involving other scientists from Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and South Korea.

"The discovery of TarP came as a surprise to us. It very well explains why the immune system often has no chance against MRSA," said Professor Tilo Sztel from the Institute of Biochemistry at the Intercultural University. "The results obtained will help us develop better therapies and vaccines against pathogens." Peshel referred to the recently approved Tibingen Cluster of Excellence "Controlling Microbes to Fight Infections" and a close involvement in the German Center for Infectious Research: "This excellent networking will help us further the research of MRSA and TarP."

High resolution image at
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scientific contact:
Prof. Dr. Andreas Peshel
University of Tübingen
Intercultural Institute for Microbiology and Infectious Medicine
Phone +49 7071 29-78855
[email protected]

Prof. Dr. Tilo Stell
University of Tübingen
Intercultural Institute for Biochemistry
Phone +49 7071 29-73043
[email protected]

Original Publication:
Gerlach, Guo et al, 2018, glycosylation of the cell wall of the cell wall of Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant, to avoid immunity. Nature, DOI: 10.1038 / s41586-018-0730-x (Available only after the expiration date: Wednesday, November 21, 2018, 19:00 CET)

idw 2018/11

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