Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

NUS-led research team discovers how bacteria sense salt stress

July 10, 2012

The scientists' finding is a major breakthrough in understanding decades-old problem of how bacteria detect environmental changes

A team of scientists led by Assistant Professor Ganesh S Anand and Professor Linda J. Kenney from the National University of Singapore (NUS) Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) and the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI) has discovered how bacteria respond to salts in their environment and the ways in which salts can alter the behaviour of specialised salt sensor bacterial proteins.

This novel finding sheds light on how microbes detect levels of salts or sugars in their watery environments - a problem in biology that has been studied for more than 30 years.

The NUS scientists found that microbes do this by specialised molecules or proteins on the bacterial surface that change shape in response to changes in salt concentration. This is relevant not only to bacteria, but also cells from all organisms which detect and respond to changes in environmental salts and sugars.

The scientists from NUS and the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) first published their findings in the EMBO Journal on 30 May 2012.

Salt detecting proteins are like springs

Bacteria have elaborate mechanisms for sensing and responding to changes in the environment. One of the important environmental stresses for bacteria is the changing concentration of salts. For instance, some can live in fresh water (a low salt environment) or in the guts of humans (high salt environment).

Using a powerful combination of a tool called amide hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry (HDXMS), accompanied by molecular biology and biochemistry, the scientists from NUS probed how changes in salt concentrations are sensed by a receptor protein.

They found that salt detecting proteins are like molecular springs, or "slinky toys". The proteins are constantly shifting from a condensed spring form to an extended form. Increasing the salt concentration dampens this spring-like movement, which activates the protein. In other words, the less spring-like the protein, the higher is its activity. This protein movement may provide a unified model of how bacteria sense their environment.

Application of the phenomenon

This study is an example of basic science with immediate applications. Recognising that diverse proteins operate as molecular springs whose spring-like movement can be dampened is fundamental to understanding how these proteins work. This study also underscores the role of water in biology. It demonstrates how salts and sugars can alter biological properties of proteins through the effects on water and is relevant for understanding life processes across species from bacteria to humans.

Further research

The NUS research team is now working on studying the protein in its native membrane by embedding the bacterial sensor protein in an artificial membrane. They hope to understand how the membrane contributes to overall protein activity, structure, stability and responses to salts.

National University of Singapore


Related Mechanobiology Current Events and Mechanobiology News Articles


Molecular switch lets salmonella fight or evade immune system
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have discovered a molecular regulator that allows salmonella bacteria to switch from actively causing disease to lurking in a chronic but asymptomatic state called a biofilm.

Newfound strength in regenerative medicine
Researchers in the field of mechanobiology are evolving our understanding of health by revealing new insights into how the body's physical forces and mechanics impact development, physiological health, and prevention and treatment of disease.

Critical clues on cartilage
Injury and degeneration of fibro-cartilaginous tissues, such as the knee meniscus and the intervertebral disc, have significant socioeconomic and quality-of-life costs.

A better way to grow bone cells
Researchers at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have developed a new, more precise way to control the differentiation of stem cells into bone cells.

Supercomputers listen to the heart
New supercomputer models have come closer than ever to capturing the behavior of normal human heart valves and their replacements, according to recent studies by groups including scientists at the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES) at The University of Texas at Austin and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State University.

How Salmonella survives the macrophage's acid attack
Macrophages destroy bacteria by engulfing them in intracellular compartments, which they then acidify to kill or neutralize the bacteria.

Biology in a twist -- deciphering the origins of cell behavior
Researchers at the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI) at the National University of Singapore have discovered that the inherent 'handedness' of molecular structures directs the behaviour of individual cells and confers them the ability to sense the difference between left and right.

Forcing wounds to close
A collaborative study led by scientists from the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has revealed the mechanical forces that drive epithelial wound healing in the absence of cell supporting environment. This research was published in Nature Communications in January 2015.

Epithelial tube contraction
Researchers at the Mechanobiology Institute (MBI), National University of Singapore (NUS) have identified a novel mechanosensitive regulation of epithelial tube contraction.

Mapping the interactome
Researchers at the Mechanobiology Institute at the National University of Singapore have comprehensively described the network of proteins involved in cell-cell adhesions, or the cadherin interactome.
More Mechanobiology Current Events and Mechanobiology News Articles

Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology

Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology
by Christopher R. Jacobs (Author), Hayden Huang (Author), Ronald Y. Kwon (Author)


Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology is designed for a one-semester course in the mechanics of the cell offered to advanced undergraduate and graduate students in biomedical engineering, bioengineering, and mechanical engineering. It teaches a quantitative understanding of the way cells detect, modify, and respond to the physical properties within the cell environment. Coverage includes the mechanics of single molecules, polymers, polymer networks, two-dimensional membranes, whole-cell mechanics, and mechanobiology, as well as primer chapters on solid, fluid, and statistical mechanics, and cell biology. Introduction to Cell Mechanics and Mechanobiology is the first cell mechanics textbook to be geared specifically toward students with diverse backgrounds in engineering and...

  Mechanobiology of Living Systems
by Jonathan T Butcher (Author)


This text brings together mechanobiology theory, approaches, and applications in a format appropriate for readers with some mathematical and biological exposure. It begins by explaining fundamental mechanobiological principles in a sequential "ground up" approach that includes key terminology. Next, it identifies the in vivo mechanical environment of biological systems—highlighting areas of important research. Maintaining a focus on mechanobiology fundamentals, it includes example questions drawn from a variety of organ systems, lower organisms, and plants. This comprehensive resource includes example problems drawn from theory and applications in each chapter, as well as sections on experimental methods.

Basic Orthopaedic Biomechanics and Mechano-Biology, 3rd ed.

Basic Orthopaedic Biomechanics and Mechano-Biology, 3rd ed.
by Van C. Mow PhD (Editor), Rik Huiskes PhD (Editor)


Completely revised and updated, the Third Edition of this classic text reflects the latest advances in research on orthopaedic biomechanics and the successful applications of biomechanical principles in fracture fixation, prosthetic implant design, and hip and knee arthroplasty. For this Third Edition, Dr. Mow is joined by new co-editor Rik Huiskes, PhD, an Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biomechanics and an internationally renowned authority in the field. New chapters cover biomaterials, biomechanical principles of cartilage and bone tissue engineering, and biomechanics of fracture fixation and fracture healing.

Health Detectives...Solving the Mystery of Health Through Neuroscience, Nutrigenomics, and Mechanobiology

Health Detectives...Solving the Mystery of Health Through Neuroscience, Nutrigenomics, and Mechanobiology
by Dr. Michael K. Bagnell (Author), Dr. Michael K. Bagnell (Contributor), designapolis (Contributor)


Health can be a mystery at times. By considering Neuroscience, Nutrigenomics, and Mechanobiology principles, we can consider health concerns from a different view. Having a new vision of things can help us to Think Differently about a solution.

Cellular and Biomolecular Mechanics and Mechanobiology (Studies in Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials)

Cellular and Biomolecular Mechanics and Mechanobiology (Studies in Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials)
by Amit Gefen (Editor)


This book describes these exciting new developments, and presents experimental and computational findings that altogether describe the frontier of knowledge in cellular and biomolecular mechanics, and the biological implications, in health and disease. The book is written for bioengineers with interest in cellular mechanics, for biophysicists, biochemists, medical researchers and all other professionals with interest in how cells produce and respond to mechanical loads.

Skeletal Function and Form: Mechanobiology of Skeletal Development, Aging, and Regeneration

Skeletal Function and Form: Mechanobiology of Skeletal Development, Aging, and Regeneration
by Dennis R. Carter (Author), Gary S. Beaupré (Author)


The intimate relationship between form and function inherent in the design of animals is perhaps nowhere more evident than in the musculoskeletal system. This book, about how function determines form, addresses the role of mechanical factors in the development, adaptation, maintenance, aging, and repair of skeletal tissues. The authors refer to this process as mechanobiology and develop their theme within an evolutionary framework. They show how degenerative disorders such as arthritis and osteoporosis are regulated by the same mechanical processes that influence normal development and growth. Skeletal Function and Form bridges important gaps among disciplines, providing a common ground for a multidisciplinary understanding.

Mechanobiology: Exploitation for Medical Benefit

Mechanobiology: Exploitation for Medical Benefit
by Simon Rawlinson (Author)


An emerging field at the interface of biology and engineering, mechanobiology explores the mechanisms by which cells sense and respond to mechanical signals—and holds great promise in one day unravelling the mysteries of cellular and extracellular matrix mechanics to cure a broad range of diseases. Mechanobiology: Exploitation for Medical Benefit presents a comprehensive overview of principles of mechanobiology, highlighting the extent to which biological tissues are exposed to the mechanical environment, demonstrating the importance of the mechanical environment in living systems, and critically reviewing the latest experimental procedures in this emerging field. Featuring contributions from several top experts in the field, chapters begin with an introduction to fundamental...

Molecular and Cellular Mechanobiology (Physiology in Health and Disease)

Molecular and Cellular Mechanobiology (Physiology in Health and Disease)
by Springer


This book will cover the cutting-edge developments in molecular and cellular mechanobiology to date. Readers will have a clear understanding of mechanobiology at the molecular and cellular levels, encompassing the mechanosensors, transducers, and transcription. An integrative approach across different scales from molecular sensing to mechanotransduction and gene modulation for physiological regulation of cellular functions will be explored, as well as applications to pathophysiological states in disease. A comprehensive understanding of the roles of physicochemical microenvironment and intracellular responses in determining cellular function in health and disease will also be discussed.

Multiscale Modeling in Biomechanics and Mechanobiology

Multiscale Modeling in Biomechanics and Mechanobiology
by Suvranu De (Editor), Wonmuk Hwang (Editor), Ellen Kuhl (Editor)


Presenting a state-of-the-art overview of theoretical and computational models that link characteristic biomechanical phenomena, this book provides guidelines and examples for creating multiscale models in representative systems and organisms. It develops the reader's understanding of and intuition for multiscale phenomena in biomechanics and mechanobiology, and introduces a mathematical framework and computational techniques paramount to creating predictive multiscale models.Biomechanics involves the study of the interactions of physical forces with biological systems at all scales – including molecular, cellular, tissue and organ scales. The emerging field of mechanobiology focuses on the way that cells produce and respond to mechanical forces – bridging the science of mechanics...

Cardiovascular and Cardiac Therapeutic Devices (Studies in Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials)

Cardiovascular and Cardiac Therapeutic Devices (Studies in Mechanobiology, Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials)
by Thomas Franz (Editor)


This book surveys the latest vascular therapies, including small-diameter tissue-regenerative grafts, stent grafts and endovascular stents, prosthetic heart valves, and implantable cardiac pacemakers. Discusses cardiac diseases, advanced modelling and more.

© 2016 BrightSurf.com