Some of the most dangerous diseases in the world, such as plague, typhoid and cholera are caused by bacteria that have one thing in common: they have a communicable device, which is almost the ultimate weapon.During the attack on the body's cells, they form a large number of structures, shaped like a hollow needle protruding on the surface of bacteria.Through these needles bacteria introduced into the cell signaling substance carrier which reprogram past and thereby overcome their protective barriers.From this point on, the pathogens do not interfere.They can easily penetrate to the cells and larger groups.
biochemist and biophysicist Thomas Marlovits, head of the group of experts from the Vienna Institutes IMP (Research Institute of Molecular Pathology) and IMBA (Institute of Molecular Biotechnology) for several years in a complex infectious Salmonella.Already in 2006, Thomas Marlovits demonstrated the development of the needle complex of Salmonella typhimurium (Nature 441, 637-640).Together with his d
glance can kill!
Never before has an infectious unit has not been presented with such precision.Now it has become possible thanks to the combined use of cryoelectron high-resolution microscopy and specially developed software for image processing."The most advanced microscope Austria" offers the possibility of quick freezing of samples at a temperature of -196 degrees and treat them in almost unchanged condition.However, when the object image is enlarged, researchers found a problem: a high energy electron beam tends to sample in such a concentration that the latter is destroyed after the first scan.
Viennese scientists have resolved the problem by developing new image processing algorithm and lots of pictures.They have analyzed 37,000 images of individual needle complexes.Similar images were grouped and worked together.Thus, they were able to create a single clear image of a large amount of blur.This incredible computing power made possible by combining into one of 500 computers.
Microscopy without human intervention
microscope works in semi-automatic mode during the night to obtain a large number of images.This scheme has the advantage, because people just interfere with work.They breathe, speak, move, and thus upset the sensitive microscope.Even a lift can knock an electron beam.
cryoelectronic microscope IMP-IMBA is the only one in Austria.Incredible technological efforts associated with managing them rewarded with the results, you need to scientists.The penetration level in the subnanometrichesky created for them another way to expand the field of knowledge.They've got the ability to "adjust" existing data (obtained from crystallography) under the needle structure and thus complement the three-dimensional image.Using this hybrid approach has given scientists an opportunity to shed light on the whole circuit devices infectious unit.
Marlovits Thomas believes the technology innovative splash "when using our method, we were able to set standards for producing" pictures "at a very high level.We can explore its absolute limits with a fantastic infrastructure, which is available here in our Campus Vienna Biocenter ".
This not only increases the knowledge base of basic research."By using our data, we can find a part that can interfere with the operation of the needle complex and destroy his work," - said Marlovits."Thus, we will be able to get a very effective medication, not only that which is able to deal with salmonella, but also with other pathogens, armed with is the same system, such as the organisms that cause cholera, plague and typhus."