The weaponry of salmonellae

March 03, 2011

Bacteria like salmonellae infect their host cells by needle-shaped extensions which they create in large numbers during an attack.

A group of Vienna-based scientists headed by Thomas Marlovits employed recently developed methods of cryo-electron microscopy and has been able to clarify the structure of this infection apparatus on the near-atomic scale. The exact knowledge of the needles’ building plan may help to develop substances that interfere with its function and thus prevent infection.

These findings were published in Science: Three-dimensional model of Salmonella's needle complex at subnanometer resolution. Schraidt O, Marlovits TC. Science. 2011 Mar 4;331(6021):1192-5. 

>>link to paper on Science

Illustration: Structure of the needle-complex of Salmonella, embedded in a cellular context (artist’s interpretation based on original data). Source: IMP-IMBA

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