An oral bacterium can flourish in other parts of the body thanks to the discovery of a novel protein by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The discovery might eventually result in the creation of fresh medications that target the protein precisely.
Dr. Kirsten Wolthers, Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Microbiology at UBC’s Okanagan Campus said, “This bacterium is common in the mouths of humans and generally doesn’t cause disease in that location. However, it can travel through the bloodstream to other areas of the body, which leads to some pretty big health concerns.”
This bacteria is very common in the tumours of people with colorectal cancer. The bacteria’s presence can lead to the development of tumours, the spread of cancer to additional body parts, and treatment resistance.
Wolthers and her coworkers discovered that the newly discovered protein allows the bacteria to remove vital elements, such as iron, from our blood cells with the use of the Canadian Light Source (CLS) beamline at the University of Saskatchewan.
“Most of the iron in the body is tied up in a molecule called heme which is surrounded by a protein cage,” says Wolthers. “What we’ve discovered now is a new way for this bacterium to acquire essential nutrients from a very abundant source allowing it to grow very well in parts of the body that are free of oxygen.”
Drugs created to combat this particular bacterium may prove to be effective at binding to this newly discovered protein.
According to Wolthers, synchrotron technology is heavily utilised in protein research. Her team’s inability to locate the specific region of the protein that binds to the heme would have been impossible without access to the CLS.
|Read More news: Click here|