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The research team behind the results showing how how bacteria control the amount of toxin in their cells (from left): Nicholas E. Sofos, Andreas Bøggild and Ditlev E. Brodersen (photo: Lisbeth Heilesen)
The toxins normally bind very strongly to the antitoxins and are thus not only inactive, but also prevent the production of more toxin from the information encoded in the bacterial DNA. During the dormant state, however, the antitoxins are degraded, and the toxins released (step 1). The free toxins now bind to unoccupied antitoxins on DNA within the area encoding the toxin-antitoxin couple (step 2). Binding increasing amounts of toxin eventually leads to the release of the molecules from the gene (steps 3 and 4) and finally to new toxin production (figure: Ditlev E. Brodersen)

2012.09.14 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

X-rays reveal the self-defence mechanisms of bacteria

A research group at Aarhus University has gained unique insight into how bacteria control the amount of toxin in their cells. The new findings can eventually lead to the development of novel forms of treatment for bacterial infections.

Atomic model of the complement protein C4 (brown) trapped in the complex with the protein-degrading enzyme MASP-2 (blue). The model shows how the MASP-2 attaches itself to the C4, which allows the MASP-2 to cleave a small portion of the C4. This makes the structure of C4 change, which enables the C4 to bind to the surface of pathogenic microorganisms, for example, or our own dying cells (Figure: Rune T. Kidmose) - click figure for enlargement.

2012.09.10 | Public / media, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics

Chain reaction in the human immune system trapped in crystals

A research team from Aarhus University has revealed details of how a chain reaction in the human immune system starts. With these results, the researchers hope to promote the development of strategies aimed at alleviating suffering caused by unintentional activation of the immune system.