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致病真菌中蛋白可用于治疗脑膜炎

来源:生物谷 2014-06-20 09:24

2014年6月20日讯 /生物谷BIOON/ --最近来自加州大学戴维斯分校的研究人员从一种致病真菌C. neoformans中分离出一种蛋白Mpr1,这种蛋白可以帮助这种真菌穿过血脑屏障引发脑膜炎。研究人员希望利用这一蛋白开发出新型载药系统穿过血脑屏障治疗脑部疾病。为了证明这种蛋白的作用,研究人员从C. neoformans分离出这种蛋白的基因并将其导入到普通酵母菌中,结果发现这一改造过得酵母菌也能够穿过血脑屏障。这一研究被发表在最近的mBio 杂志上。

血脑屏障是人体的一种保护机制,阻止外来物质从血液进入大脑。但也给人类治疗脑部疾病带来了困难。(生物谷Bioon.com)

详细英文报道:

Scientists at the University of California, Davis, have successfully isolated the protein that allows a meningitis-causing fungus to cross the blood-brain barrier, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatments for the condition and other brain infections.

Relatively few organisms are able to breach the blood-brain barrier. The fungus studied by the researchers, which causes cryptococcal meningitis--usually fatal, affecting about 1 million people worldwide--releases spores that pass the blood-brain barrier and are usually passed via the fungus itself,Cryptococcus neoformans, or by bird droppings.

"This study fills a significant gap in our understanding of how C. neoformans crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes meningitis," said Angie Gelli, an associate professor of pharmacology at UC Davis and principal investigator of the study, in a statement.

The discovery was published in the journal mBio on June 3. To illustrate how C. neoformans breaches the blood-brain barrier, researchers first isolated the unique protein that allows for it: Mpr1. They then bound it to a strain of common baking yeast, which can neither pass the blood-brain barrier nor express the unique protein. When the scientists injected mice with the yeast expressing Mpr1, they died, while mice given spores modified not to carry Mpr1 stayed alive, confirming that the protein is responsible for the barrier-breaching mechanism.

Gelli said that the study holds major implications for drug delivery, as Mpr1 could be developed as part of a vehicle to deliver treatments for brain infections and cancers. Also, either Mpr1 or reproducing its mechanism of action could greatly increase survival in someone infected by C. neoformans.

"The biggest obstacle to treating many brain cancers and infections is getting good drugs through the blood-brain barrier," Gelli said. "If we could design an effective delivery system into the brain, the impact would be enormous for treating some of these terrible diseases."

 

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