Russian researchers have shown for the first time that one of the heat shock proteins (IbpA) directly interacts with the protein responsible for the reproduction of the parasitic bacteria Acholeplasma laidlawii. official website of the Ministry of Education and Science.
These mycoplasmas, as well as related phytoplasmas, pose a significant threat to crop production, as they live in agriculturally important plants. In the future, this protein can be used as a target for plant-protecting drugs. The work was carried out by employees of the Institute of Cytology (INC) RAS, subordinated to the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation.
The bacteria of the species Acholeplasma laidlawii are the only mycoplasmas that can live freely in soil or water, but they mainly parasitize plants and animals. The vital activity of these bacteria can lead to significant yield losses.
At the same time, achholeplasma, like other mycoplasmas and phytoplasmas, demonstrates resistance to a number of antibacterial drugs that are widely used in agriculture to protect plants. Therefore, today scientists are conducting comprehensive studies of mycoplasmas to find new effective ways to combat these dangerous microorganisms.
“In achholeplasma, we are studying the so-called small heat shock protein IbpA, which is characterized by a large number of functions. In particular, it protects bacterial cells from stress. We were able to establish that IbpA directly affects the protein responsible for the cell division of a microorganism, not only under stress, but also under optimal conditions for the growth of this bacterium,” said Innokenty Vishnyakov, head of the Prokaryotic Molecular Cytology and Bacterial Invasion Group at the Institute of Scientific Centers of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
To test the hypothesis that the heat shock protein IbpA in achholeplasma affects the protein responsible for cell division FtsZ, scientists from the Institute of Scientific Centers of the Russian Academy of Sciences used several molecular genetic methods. Acholeplasma cells were studied using transmission electron microscopy, in addition, the so-called plasmon surface resonance was used. This method allows you to accurately record the interaction of various biomolecules in the cell in real time.
FtsZ is a protein found in nearly all known bacteria. It starts or activates cell division in bacteria, including acholeplasma. It can be said that it regulates the reproduction of bacteria.
IbpA is one of the heat shock proteins that function in the cells of almost all living organisms. The peculiarity of these biopolymers is that the body begins to actively synthesize them in the cell in response to various stress factors. Then heat shock proteins begin to act on proteins with other functions in order to normalize their work or utilize those proteins that have ceased to work correctly as a result of stress.
Based on their results, the researchers concluded that heat shock protein IbpA in acheoplasm could be a potential drug target.
“This work adds to our previous results the fact that this protein is able to influence the cell division of acholeplasma. Accordingly, a violation of its work can lead to sad consequences for the mycoplasma and even death of the microorganism. In the future, this effect can be used to create drugs that protect agriculturally important plants,” added Innokenty Vishnyakov.