Research on homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis is indeed convergent and finds subnanometric particles to be at the heart of catalytically active species. Here, monodisperse gold clusters are deposited from the gas phase onto porous titania generating well-defined model systems and the resulting composite materials exhibit a sharp size-dependency on the number of gold atoms per cluster and exceptionally high-turnovers toward the bromination of 1,4-dimethoxybenzene are observed. This indicates that the deliberate generation of active centres is of utmost importance for the creation of the most "gold-efficient" catalysts.
CD46 is a C3b/C4b binding complement regulator and a receptor for several human pathogens. We examined the interaction between CD46 and Helicobacter pylori (a bacterium that colonizes the human gastric mucosa and causes gastritis), peptic ulcers, and cancer.
Euthyroid sick syndrome characterized by reduced levels of thyroid hormones (THs) is observed in patients with meningococcal shock. It has been found that the level of THs reflects disease severity and is predictive for mortality. The present study was conducted to investigate the impact of THs on host defense during meningococcal infection. We found that supplementation of thyroxine to mice infected with Neisseria meningitidis enhanced bacterial clearance, attenuated the inflammatory responses and promoted survival. In vitro studies with macrophages revealed that THs enhanced bacteria-cell interaction and intracellular killing of meningococci by stimulating inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNos)-mediated NO production. TH treatment did not activate expression of TH receptors in macrophages. Instead, the observed TH-directed actions were mediated through nongenomic pathways involving the protein kinases PI3K and ERK1/2 and initiated at the membrane receptor integrin ?v?3. Inhibition of nongenomic TH signaling prevented iNos induction, NO production and subsequent intracellular bacterial killing by macrophages. These data demonstrate a beneficial role of THs in macrophage-mediated N. meningitidis clearance. TH replacement might be a novel option to control meningococcal septicemia.
Phagocytotic cells play a fundamental role in the defense against bacterial pathogens. One mechanism whereby bacteria evade phagocytosis is to produce factors that trigger apoptosis. Here we identify for the first time a meningococcal protein capable of inducing macrophage apoptosis. The conserved meningococcal outer membrane protein NhhA (Neisseria hia/hsf homologue A, also known as Hsf) mediates bacterial adhesion and interacts with extracellular matrix components heparan sulphate and laminin. Meningococci lacking NhhA fail to colonise nasal mucosa in a mouse model of meningococcal disease. We found that exposure of macrophages to NhhA resulted in a highly increased rate of apoptosis that proceeded through caspase activation. Exposure of macrophages to NhhA also led to iNOS induction and nitric oxide production. However, neither nitric oxide production nor TNF-? signaling was found to be a prerequisite for NhhA-induced apoptosis. Macrophages exposed to wildtype NhhA-expressing meningococci were also found to undergo apoptosis whereas NhhA-deficient meningococci had a markedly decreased capacity to induce macrophage apoptosis. These data provide new insights on the role of NhhA in meningococcal disease. NhhA-induced macrophage apoptosis could be a mechanism whereby meningococci evade immunoregulatory and phagocytotic actions of macrophages.
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