skip to primary navigationskip to content
 

Fluorescent Shell Localisation in Therapeutic Bacteria Spores

last modified Mar 23, 2016 12:04 PM
On the front cover of the Biophysical Journal for 17 November, CEB researchers present an analytical method to measure the structure of protein layers in bacterial spore coats. This will assist a joint project with MedImmune on the use of live edible bacteria for drug delivery.

Micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses frequently have a multi-layered protein shell, often containing 50 or more distinct proteins in a shell less than 100 nm thick. Distinguishing the order of protein layers can reveal the morphogenetic plan of the microbe, and hence shed light on the function of different proteins - for example, which proteins form the outermost layers that protect a bacterial spore from lytic enzymes in the environment, and which hold the structure together? The only practical method for non-invasively identifying specific proteins in these specimens is to use fluorescent fusion proteins and fluorescence microscopy. However conventional fluorescence microscopy lacks the resolution to resolve adjacent protein layers. Eric Rees and Graham Christie, have pioneered a method of Ellipsoid Localisation Microscopy (ELM) which is able to measure protein layer separation. The principle of the method is to derive a mathematical model for the image of a spherical (or ellipsoidal) fluorescent shell, and fit its parameters to fluorescent micrograph data, enabling shell size to be inferred very precisely. The fitted parameters can also be fed back into the image model to generate a reconstructed image of the spores. 

The method itself has wide applications, and is the first example of a set of Fluorescent Shell Localisation methods being developed at CEB. In future work, Fluorescent Shell Localisation will be used to optimise the structure of bacteria strains being developed for therapeutic drug delivery, in a joint project with MedImmune. Nonlinear optimisation techniques, also a key interest at CEB, may also be developed to speed up the image analysis. 

Related Links

Biophysical Journal blog entry

Biophysical Journal paper doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2015.09.023 

Filed under: ,

Share this

RSS Feed Latest news

Dr Vassiliadis celebrates the contributions of Roger W.H. Sargent at memorial event

Apr 17, 2019

Dr Vassiliadis contributed a talk on optimal control in chemical engineering at a memorial event for Roger W.H. Sargent, founder of process systems engineering.

A chemical garden that’s also a chemical clock

Apr 12, 2019

Research from our Cardoso lab and their colleagues in Spain, published in Angewandte Chemie, combines two classic demos in one beautiful example of active fluid dynamics.

The Robin Paul Research Prize 2020 launched

Apr 10, 2019

The Robin Paul Research Prize launched in honour of Chemical Engineering Alumnus Dr Robin Paul.

View all news

Upcoming events

CEB Research Conference 2019

Jun 25, 2019

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge, CB3 0AS

Machine learning and AI in (bio)chemical engineering

Jul 08, 2019

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Philippa Fawcett Drive, Cambridge, CB3 0AS

Stokes200 Symposium

Sep 15, 2019

Pembroke College, Cambridge

VPF8 Viscoplastic Fluids: from Theory to Application 2019

Sep 16, 2019

Jesus College, Cambridge

Upcoming events