text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
News
design element
News
News From the Field
For the News Media
Special Reports
Research Overviews
NSF-Wide Investments
Speeches & Lectures
NSF Current Newsletter
Multimedia Gallery
Search Multimedia
Image
Video
Audio
More
Multimedia in the News
NSF Executive Staff
News Archive
 

Email this pagePrint this page
Imagine That! -- "Binding Bt"


Imagine That!
Audio Play Audio

Imagine That! -- "Binding Bt"

Credit: NSF/Finger Lakes Productions International

Audio Transcript:

Could the cure for parasitic infections that affect billions of people worldwide possibly be found in...of all places, dirt?

Imagine That!

(SOUND: crickets/insects)

Scientists believe it just may be possible. Bt protein is a natural pesticide produced by certain bacteria in soil. It's toxic to insects and widely used as an alternative to chemical pesticides. Because the mechanism the toxin uses to enter insect cells is not fully understood, it's hard to develop strategies to prevent bugs from becoming resistant to it.

Recently, Raffi Aroian, a researcher at UC, San Diego, discovered the first step Bt protein takes to enter the target cells in the insects it kills. Apparently, crystal proteins from Bt bind to sugar molecules present on the surface of insect cells. This knowledge will be useful in figuring out how to block insect resistance to the toxin. It turns out that roundworms are also susceptible to the effects of Bt, but people are not. That means Bt might just be a promising cure for parasitic roundworm infections. Aroian speaks highly of its potential...

Aroian: "This bacterium has provided a tremendous natural resource that's being used all round the world. The mechanisms by which it acts are fascinating and reveal important insights as to how the crystal protein made by the bacterium works and why it's effective against certain organisms, like roundworms and insects and not others, like humans."

Bt just might make it a lot more difficult for these roundworms to get... around. I'm Eric Phillips.

"Imagine That!" covers projects funded by the U.S. government's National Science Foundation. Federally sponsored research -- brought to you, by you! Learn more at www.nsf.gov.

 
General Restrictions:
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.

Images credited to the National Science Foundation, a federal agency, are in the public domain. The images were created by employees of the United States Government as part of their official duties or prepared by contractors as "works for hire" for NSF. You may freely use NSF-credited images and, at your discretion, credit NSF with a "Courtesy: National Science Foundation" notation. Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.

RealPlayer icon
This Audio requires the free RealPlayer plug-in.

 



Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page