Wednesday, March 22, 2017

E.coli - The Trojan Horse of Genetics

Image: E.coli, Wikipedia

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara discovered how a pathogenic strain of E.coli called EC869 destroys its neighboring cells by transferring toxins into the cells to prevent them from growing. EC869 is able to do this by binding to a protein on a target cell in order to release its toxin, except unlike most toxic bacteria, it specifically seizes two major factors of protein synthesis. EC869 binds to elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu), whose role is to bind to tRNA molecules. When EF-Tu completes this action, the toxin is released into the tRNA molecules and hones in on elongation factor Ts (EF-Ts). This inhibits cellular growth as these two EFs are unable to partake in protein synthesis. 
I think it's interesting how "brutal" bacteria can be. They don't care about the healthy cells; they'll do whatever it takes to hijack these vulnerable cells to further their lifespan and mutate. 

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