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Calcium pump. The calcium pump is shown as a blue chain which is rooted in a membrane (yellow balls). The CPA toxin (purple) sits right at the edge of the membrane and prevents the calcium ions (the light blue balls) from being transported to the other side of the membrane. Under the stop sign you see the toxin CPA (purple) which acts as a plug in the calcium pump. The orange arrow shows the route the calcium ions would normally take through the membrane if the CPA was not present. When the calcium ion transport is hampered an imbalance of the calcium concentration in the cells occurs, which in the worst cases can lead to cell death. This mechanism can be used for the design of CPA-like antibiotics which only bind to the calcium pumps of pathogenic bacteria and parasites. Click figure for enlargement.

2009.03.19 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Researchers reveal action mechanism of known food contaminant

The toxin cyclopiazonic acid (CPA) has been known for many years, but scientists have only just discovered how this mycotoxin works. This discovery will make it easier for researchers to develop new antibiotics.