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A research team led by the Institute of Biotechnology and Biomedicine of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (IBB-UAB) has discovered the regulation and metal uptake systems of Mycoplasma genitalium (Mge). This emerging sexually transmitted pathogen is responsible for several genitourinary diseases and is becoming a superbacterium thanks to its emerging resistance to the antibiotics used against it. Researchers have managed to identify the protein that regulates metal uptake, the Ferric Uptake Regulator (Fur), as well as other proteins responsible for transporting the metals into the microorganism.
"Through transcriptomic and proteomic techniques, we were able to determine the changes in Mge's gene expression in the presence and absence of metals", states Carlos Martínez, lead author of the study. "Moreover, we were able to identify the metals that bacteria require for growth using a mass spectrometry analysis developed by the UAB Analytical Chemistry Unit", explains Sergi Torres, co-author of the study.
The regulation and metal transport systems identified in Mge represent very attractive therapeutic targets. This study will allow us to develop strategies to block metal acquisition through inhibitors or immunotherapy." Òscar Quijada, researcher at the IBB-UAB and coordinator of the study
In fact, researchers have already begun working in this direction, in collaboration with the UAB Department of Biophysics and the Microbiology Units of the Parc Taulí and Vall d'Hebron hospitals.
The research was recently published in the journal Emerging Microbes and Infections and included the involvement of researchers from the IBB, the UAB Department of Biophysics and the Vall d'Hebron Institute of Oncology. Source:
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona Journal reference:
Martínez-Torró, C., et al. (2019) Transcriptional response to metal starvation in the emerging pathogen Mycoplasma genitalium is mediated by Fur-dependent and –independent regulatory pathways. Emerging Microbes & Infections . doi.org/10.1080/22221751.2019.1700762 .
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