12 May 2016 - Unveiling the ubiquitin fingerprint induced by Salmonella infection.

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A cellular invasion by bacterial pathogens can immediately be detected on the molecular level. The dynamic changes observed are due to the host cell gearing up for defense and the bacterium trying to achieve its primary goal of propagation.

As published in the current online edition of Molecular Cell, the groups of Ivan Dikic and Christian Behrends have shed light on the dynamic changes within a host cell in response to an infection with Salmonella.

Like criminal profilers, and using quantitative mass spectrometry, the scientists tracked all sites within the host cells that are ubiquitinated in response to an infection. Ubiquitination is commonly used by cells to relay signals.

The scientists hypothesized that all proteins that become ubiquitinated after Salmonella invasion must be involved in either propagating or limiting the infection. Indeed, this novel approach gave an unprecedented insight into all cellular processes affected by the infection and identified important new regulatory hubs.

Given the increased occurrence of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens, which hampers current treatment schemes and prompts the need for alternative anti-bacterial strategies, this comprehensive dataset will reveal new targets for inhibiting Salmonella propagation and preventing the associated inflammatory reaction.