Antibodies, bacteria and resistance at KI conference

Published 2013-02-27 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:33

[PRESS INVITATION 2013-02-23] A retrospective, with personal accounts by scientists who were involved from the onset. The very latest on how bacterial proteins bind with human cells and molecules and an update on antibiotic resistance. These are the topics on the programme of this conference organised by Karolinska Institutet.

Reporters are invited to the conference to interview the researchers.

  • Conference: Perspectives on receptins and resistance
  • When: Tuesday 5 March, 09:00 am - 4.00 pm
  • Where: Nobel Forum, Wallenbergsalen, Karolinska Institutet Campus Solna

It all began in 1966, when Swedish doctoral student Arne Forsgren discovers how a bacterial protein, protein A, can bind to a particular part of human antibodies called the Fc fragment.

"It was known that antibodies attack bacteria with their claws, but this research shows that they bind them with their tails too," says Göran Kronvall, professor emeritus of microbiology. "This was a paradigm shift."

Arne Forsgren is currently professor of clinical microbiology at Lund University. He and some of the researchers who were on board from the start will be giving their personal accounts of how the research field of bacteria-human protein interaction developed. Swedish and Scandinavian research in this field has made tremendous advances and has been fundamental to the mapping of human proteins, an area in which Professor Mathias Uhlén from the Royal Institute of Technology is a driving force. He is also the initiator of the SciLifeLab, and he will be giving his view of the science being done.

"His research revolves around utilising the active centre of the staphylococcus protein A, and can give rise to new tools for exploring proteins, such as purifying them, recognising them and mapping them and their presence in the cell," says professor Kronvall.

A better understanding of the structure of the interaction between bacteria and the human cell also provides a framework in which to tackle the problem of antibiotic resistance, the topic of the second part of this conference. Speakers include Gunnar Kahlmeter, president of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and former chair of EUCAST (the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing), who will be developing the theme of resistance measurement and talking about his efforts to harmonise the method in Europe, which is a key to monitoring developments and containing the spread of the problem.

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