A miniaturized version of the eukaryotic ribosome found in microsporidia

190722 Illustration Mikrosporidium Ribosom Jonas Barandun only structureA research team lead by MIMS/SciLifeLab research group leader Jonas Barandun uses cryo-electron microscopy to provide near atomic details of the smallest known eukaryotic cytoplasmic protein synthesis machine, the microsporidian ribosome.

Jonas Baranun 1000150 years ago, the European silk industry was threatened by an unknown epidemic killing the silkworms. At that time, Louis Pasteur was able to identify the source of infection and made important suggestions for treatment. The silk production in Europe survived. Today, a microsporidian parasite is known as the cause of this epidemic and silk worm diseases still cause more than 100 million USD losses to the Chinese silk industry every year. Microsporidiosis is not restricted to silk worms. The diverse phylum of the microsporidia contains thousands of different species with parasites for essentially every animal. At least 14 of them can infect humans. Particularly challenged by microsporidia are not only aquacultures, sericultures and honey bee populations in which infections can wipe out entire hives, but also immunocompromised patients. Microsporidia are a risk for the environment, agriculture and human health and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently added the parasitic fungi to the list of emerging pathogens of high priority. Even if microsporidia infections are among the most common parasitic diseases in all animals, relatively little is known about their fascinating molecular life which is shaped by an accelerated evolutionary rate and extreme genome compaction.

Together with researchers from The Rockefeller University and Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Jonas Barandun, new group leader at The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS), publishes the cryo-electron microscopy structure of the microsporidian ribosome which visualizes the effect of extreme genome compaction on an essential molecular machine (Nature Microbiology, 22 July 2019).

Read more: A miniaturized version of the eukaryotic ribosome found in microsporidia

10 years of MIMS celebration

Group picture V9A0599[2019-06-24] It was a big surprise for both Bernt Eric Uhlin, founding director of MIMS, and the audience attending the “10 years of MIMS symposium”, when Emmanuelle Charpentier – one of the first group leaders who started a lab at MIMS -  entered the podium and gave a speech to honor Bernt Eric and MIMS.

"When people ask me what attracted me in Umea, I reply that MIMS could offer me what I was looking for",  said Emmanuelle Charpentier and described the MIMS environment as follows: "an innovative model for a new research institution; freedom of research; an understanding for risky projects and an understanding that more unconventional research projects need time and focus; respect for young students and scientists; a world-class scientific education for the junior scientists; an interactive and relaxed environment where scientific discussions are always a priority; and an enjoyable community of colleagues always ready to challenge novel scientific questions".

She arrived in the morning from Berlin, where she is now the director of her own institute, the Max Planck Unit for the Science of Pathogens. Upon her request, she was not listed as a speaker to surprise her mentor Bernt Eric Uhlin, who stepped down as director of MIMS in October 2018. Oliver Billker, the new MIMS director and professor of Biotechnology and Molecular Genetics, chaired the symposium. He recently moved to Umeå from Cambridge, UK, and is currently setting up his research lab for the study of parasites of malaria.

Read more: 10 years of MIMS celebration

Göran Gustafsson Prize 2019 for Yaowen Wu

Yaowen Wu MPN Mattias Pettersson lr[2019-03-04] UCMR congratulates Yaowen Wu, Professor at the Department of Chemistry and principle investigator at UCMR to the Göran Gustafsson Prize in Molecular Biology 2019!
 
In the other areas of research these young scientists will be honoured: Petter Brändén (mathematics), KTH Stockholm, Anders Johansen (physics), Lund University, Björn Högberg (chemistry), Karolinska Institutet, Kristian Pietras (medicine), Lund University. Each awardee will receive  SEK 5,100 000 as research funding and a SEK 250 000 personal prize.
 
In its motivation, the Göran Gustafssons Stiftelsen för naturvetenskaplig och medicinsk forskning wrote in the press release publishe today, that Yaowen Wu receives the prize ”för sina innovativa molekylära studier av intracellulär transport och autofagi” (for his innovative molecular studies of intracellular transport and autophagy).

Read more: Göran Gustafsson Prize 2019 for Yaowen Wu

10th UCMR Day highlighted interaction, collaboration and future perspectives

UCMR DAY participants 2019 1454 2For the 10th time, scientists at Umeå University met for the UCMR (Umeå Centre for Microbial Research) annual retreat on the 10th of January 2019.

Around 130 participants had accepted the invitation and attended the UCMR Day 2019 at Bergasalen, Norrland University Hospital. In his introduction, UCMR Director Bernt Eric Uhlin recalled the vision that the initial UCMR Consortium of 15 Principal Investigators formulated more than 10 years ago when launching a joint scientific programme: “To establish a world-leading and sustainable science environment promoting cutting-edge biomedical research in molecular infection medicine at Umeå University”. The UCMR programme was in 2008 selected for funding during ten years by the Swedish Research Council (VR) as the UCMR Linnaeus Programme. A decade later, the evaluation of all the Linnaeus centres is on the agenda of VR and BEU informed about the time plan of the evaluation during 2019 and gave a resumé over the last 10 years of UCMR activities.

Read more: 10th UCMR Day highlighted interaction, collaboration and future perspectives

Welcome to the UCMR DAY 2019!

Bild1When: Thursday, 10th January 2019

Place: Bergasalen,  University Hospital, South Entrance, "Kvinno-barn-kliniken"

Topics to be covered:

  • New faculty members at MIMS/UCMR
  • Invited guest speakers
  • Poster walks
  • Plans for future collaboration acitivities
  • Update over ongoing activities at UCMR and Core Facilities

The final programme is now published!

Contact: Bernt Eric Uhlin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and Elisabeth Sauer-Eriksson, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (concerning the scientific programme) and Åke Forsberg, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Eva-Maria Diehl, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (for organisation and registration)

Read more: Welcome to the UCMR DAY 2019!

WHO World Antibiotic Awareness Week: Antibiotika och Antibiotikaresistens - Inbjudan till press och media

WAAW2018(2018-11-13) WHO uppmärksammar antibiotika i november med den pågående World Antibiotic Awareness Week. Svenska forskare bidrar i år till ”World Antibiotic Awareness” med en avancerad kurs, 26-30 november, för framtidens forskare och läkare i Sverige. Kursen äger rum i Hindås, utanför Göteborg.

Under den första kursdagen, 26/11, är vetenskapsjournalister/representanter för media välkomna till information om den senaste forskningen kring antibiotikaresistens!

Antibiotikaresistens betraktas som ett av de största hoten mot människors hälsa och matförsörjningen världen över. I allt snabbare takt uppstår resistenta bakteriestammar och behandlingen av infektionssjukdomar så som tuberkulos, lunginflammation, gonorré och blodförgiftning blir allt svårare och ibland även tyvärr utan resultat. Befintliga antibiotika verkar inte längre, och flera multiresistenta bakterier kan spridas med resenärer till nya miljöer. Långa behandlingstider och svårare sjukdomsförlopp som kräver fler dödsoffer, resulterar i högre kostnader för sjukvården. Bara i Europa dör varje år 33 000 människor som en direkt följd av antibiotikaresistens, enligt en studie som nyss publicerades i tidskriften The Lancet.

Read more: WHO World Antibiotic Awareness Week: Antibiotika och Antibiotikaresistens - Inbjudan till press...

Two projects at Umeå University receive funding in international collaborations with the aim to stop antimicrobial resistant bacteria

MIMS and UCMR Researchers are funded by the Swedish Research Council for their participation in International research collaborations in two research consortia funded within the European Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance (JPIAMR).

[2018-10-30] MIMS Group Leader and UCMR Researcher Vasili Hauryliuk, Department of Molecular Biology, is part of the project “Development of novel ribosome-targeting antibiotics” with collaborators in Germany, France, Czech Republic and Italy. Under the lead of Daniel Wilson at the University of Hamburg, the collaborating laboratories will focus on discovering novel antibiotics which are targeted towards the ribosome, the cellular protein fabric, which is one of the major target of existing antibiotics.

Read more: Two projects at Umeå University receive funding in international collaborations with the aim to...

A new toxin in Cholera bacteria discovered by scientists in Umeå

[2018-06-21] Scientists affiliated with MIMS and UCMR describe their findings about a new toxin and its secretion mechanism from the major bacterial pathogen Vibrio cholerae in a recent publication in the journal Communications Biology (7 June 2018).

Dongre et al 2018 Communications Biology 3
The bacterium Vibrio cholerae was discovered more than 150 years ago but remains as one of the main causes of bacterial infectious disease globally, especially in low-income nations where it occurs endemic, and outbreaks of cholera disease can lead to major epidemics.

In addition to causing cholera disease characterized by very severe watery diarrhea, different variants of V. cholerae can cause, for example, wound infections and infections in the ear canal (ear inflammation). If the infection is reaching the bloodstream, it can lead to blood poisoning. Such variants of Vibrio bacteria are common in brackish water, but can be found both in freshwater and saltwater and are also present in such environments in our country.

Scientists from Umeå University have now discovered and characterised the structure and function of a so far unknown Vibrio toxin. A team led by Professor Sun Nyunt Wai at Department of Molecular Biology and MIMS used the worm Caenorhabditis elegans as a predatory host for the bacteria and identified by molecular genetic analysis the V. cholerae genes required for production and release of the new protein toxin, now called MakA.

Read more: A new toxin in Cholera bacteria discovered by scientists in Umeå

World Antibiotics Awareness Week, 13-19 November 2017

AMR Stamp 2WHO campaign 2017: Antibiotics: Handle with care

World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) aims to increase awareness of global antibiotic resistance and to encourage best practices among the general public, health workers and policy-makers to avoid the further emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance.

Researchers (ca 50 research groups) at MIMS and UCMR work on the understanding of molecular mechanisms of microbial infections. The knowledge could be used to develop new antimicrobial strategies for future treatment of infections and to avoid antibotic resistance.

More information on the WHO's Campaign website "World Antibiotic Awareness Week", 13-19 November 2017

MIMS Deputy Director Maria Fällman will give a popular science lecture in Swedish language in the series of popular science lectures "lärande luncher" organised by the Norrland University Hospital.
Title: "Nya vapen mot seglivade bakterier"

Place: Frälsningsarméen, Umeå, Kungsgatan 47, 90326 Umeå
Date: 14 November, 12:15

Lessons from bacteria: Novel antimicrobial strategies based on interspecies metabolic cooperation

20171017 Aliashkevich Cava Alvarez 562 2MIMS- scientist publish in the high-impact Journal of the International Society for Microbial Ecology, ISME.

An important survival strategy in bacteria is the release of toxic substances, which can attack and kill cells and other bacteria. One of these substances are D-amino acids, which are secreted to the environment at high concentrations by very diverse bacteria. D-amino acids interfere with the growth of neighboring competitors thereby improving the chances of producer species to colonize an specific niche. Felipe Cava's research group at The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS) studied the biological effects caused by distinct D-amino acids released by the causative agent of cholera, Vibrio cholerae. The study was performed in collaboration with Miguel A de Pedro, a former visiting professor at Umeå University and investigator at the Centro de Biología Molecular ‘Severo Ochoa’, CSIC in Madrid, Spain.

The scientists found that D-Arginine is a very potent and very broad growth inhibitor of many diverse bacterial species, including pathogenic ones such as Burkholderias, well known for their implication in pulmonary infections and their broad antibiotic resistance.

"We found that D-Arginine is a key environmental factor that controls both fitness and survival of bacterial subpopulations and therefore can modulate the existing biodiversity within an ecological niche" explains Laura Alvarez, postdoctoral researcher who conducted the study.

Alvarez and colleagues found, too, that although all the members of the Vibrionaceae family were resistant to D-arginine, not all of them produce this effector. This behavior suggests that a few vibrios may have evolved to help members of the family in an altruistic cooperation to facilitate prevalence of the entire vibrio in a particular ambient.

Read more: Lessons from bacteria: Novel antimicrobial strategies based on interspecies metabolic cooperation