Biochemists from McGill University are getting a good look at just how a specific enzyme that is part of the human immune system interacts with a certain group of bacteria that are described as gram-negative.
Researchers around the world “have been studying the enzyme, known as AOAH, for more than 30 years. This is the first time anyone has been able to see exactly what it looks like,” according to Bhushan Nagar, an associate professor of biochemistry at McGill University in Montreal.
More than that, the 3D images captured a moment in time which shows just how AOAH inactivates a toxic molecule that is commonly part of various gram-negative bacteria. The research was conducted at the Canadian Light Source.
Numerous types of gram-negative bacteria exist throughout the environment. While some are harmless, many cause a variety of human illnesses, says Nagar. For example, several species such as E. coli and Salmonella, cause food borne illness. Others cause infections such as pneumonia, meningitis, bloodstream infections or gonorrhea.
Image: Bhushan Nagar (principal investigator), Alexei Gorelik (first author of paper) and Katalin Illes (research assistant at Nagar lab) at their McGill University lab.
Credit: Bhushan Nagar.