Researchers Dr. P. John Hart and Dr. Joel Baseman were recently featured in BioNews-TX for their work on determining the structure of Mycoplasma pneumonia’s cytotoxin, a widespread and extremely contagious bacterium that strikes and infects the lungs.
“We know a lot about how the toxin works, but we did not have its 3D structure. The structure shows us the molecular architecture of the protein, which permits the rational design of effective drugs and vaccines to neutralize the injurious effects of CARDS toxin,” explained study author Dr. Baseman, expert in immunology and microbiology and director of the Innovation Center for Airway Inflammation Research at the UT Health Science Center.
The results have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and the study was supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, The Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, and the Robert A. Welch Foundation.
Determining the structure of the Community Acquired Respiratory Distress Syndrome (CARDS) toxin will ease both vaccine and drug advancement in airway diseases such as asthma. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimates that about 2 million new cases of Mycoplasma pneumonia infections are registered each year in the United States, however, the true dimension of this health problem has not yet been established and might be underestimated.
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