The protein, “discovered” by a Portuguese researcher at the Cornell University School of Medicine in New York, could open up important new avenues in the fight against tuberculosis, which, despite the established cure, remains one of the deadliest infectious diseases. for humanity.
Before the SARS-CoV-2 virus that spread the covid-19 pandemic, the virus Mycobacterium tuberculosis – The bacteria, also known as Koch’s bacillus (after German bacteriologist Robert Koch, who discovered it), was the pathogen that caused the most deaths in the world, and by 2020 was estimated to be associated with about 1.5 million deaths. …
According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report on the disease, deaths from tuberculosis have increased in the past year “for the first time in more than a decade” after the global response to covid-19 “declined. years of progress. “ And even Portuguese emergency hospitals have recently seen a return of severe cases of tuberculosis, as reported just last week by infectious disease specialist Maria João Brito, who is responsible for the infectious diseases department at Dona Estefânia Hospital in Lisbon.
The identification of new, more effective treatments for the disease continues to be a priority highlighted by WHO and the recent discovery by Thiago Rodriguez Beites, published this Monday in the prestigious Scientific journal Nature Communicationscould be an important step forward.
Tuberculosis bacteria mainly infect the lungs and depend on the host’s fatty acids and cholesterol for energy to survive and reproduce. And science has already identified a bacterial enzyme that can metabolize these fatty acids in the human body: acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase (acyl-CoA dehydrogenase).
“But this enzyme is part of a more complex chain that regulates its function,” explains Thiago Beites. AND The Portuguese researcher and his team at Weill Cornell Medicine discovered that there is a protein that links an enzymatic network of the type, without which acyl-CoA cannot have its normal activity. In other words, “it stops feeding on fatty acids,” and the bacteria die.which is confirmed by tests in vitro and in animal models (mice), the results of which are now published in this scientific journal, in a study already reviewed by colleagues.
In this study, “the bacterium could no longer replicate in mouse models of lung infection, and after 56 days it was eliminated from the body.”
The 37-year-old Porto scientist, PhD in Biological Sciences at the Faculty of Science of the University of Porto and who has been in New York since 2015, begins by explaining D.N. as a specialist in bacterial genetics: his job is to “find weaknesses in bacteria “. And there, despite the fact that the tuberculosis bacterium was discovered in the 19th century, there is still a “black box” that needs to be investigated, since, as Thiago Beites emphasizes, “the function of more than half of the proteins” in Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
The scientist was particularly interested in one of them, “which seems to have been associated with the process of energy production by bacteria.” It is a protein that the Portuguese researcher named ETFD and which, when “combined with a flavoprotein (ETFBA), plays a fundamental role in the activity of the acyl-CoA dehydrogenase enzyme, which allows bacteria to feed on host fat. acids for survival, “he explains.
And this discovery opens up a new therapeutic pathway for fighting the disease, says the researcher, who in this study showed that: By genetically manipulating the bacterium to remove the gene for this ETFD protein, “it ceased to reproduce in mouse models of lung infection, and after 56 days they were able to eliminate it from the body.” Moreover: Koch’s bacillus not only could not feed on fatty acids, but also became toxic to the bacteria itself, which was still unknown.
Faced with the difficulty of directly targeting the acyl-CoA dehydrogenase enzymes – “the bacterium has 35 different types of these enzymes, which we call genetic redundancy, and it is impossible to chemically eliminate them all at the same time” – this fundamental discovery points to a different way of fighting tuberculosis.
By identifying the function of this ETFD protein, without which the bacterium could not survive in this study, “it is possible to study pharmacological solutions that attack this pathway,” says Thiago Beites. which is already looking for partnerships with other research groups related to the chemical field of drug manufacturing.
And since ETFD does not have homologous human proteins, “it is an interesting target because it offers less risk of side effects,” the scientist stresses, explaining the importance of “developing antibiotics that target the pathogen as much as possible in order to reduce the risk to the host.”
Faced with a disease that currently requires a very complex treatment, involving four different antibiotics for six months, and threatened by the growing phenomenon of multi-resistant bacteria, the discovery of Thiago Rodriguez Beites from Porto may offer a new and important asset. the scientific community.
Franky Chavez, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, announces a new album and the first song in Portuguese. “Cheguei Bem” is the debut single, heralding the return to studio albums of one of the great names of Portuguese blues/folk.
The new single is now available on all digital platforms and is accompanied by a music video that can be viewed on the artist’s official YouTube channel.
“This topic appeared in December 2020. On a sunny and cold day in the heart of the Alentejo, music appeared in succession. I don’t know why, but I immediately remembered that I needed to send the recording that I made on my mobile phone to Pedro Puppe. Maybe because I was already thinking about starting to write lyrics in Portuguese and Pedro was one of my favorite lyricists. Two days later he sent me a text and a recording of his voice in addition to what he had done. I realized that the lyrics were talking about me, and by changing one here and the other there, I interpreted it as my own. Thus, Cheguey Bem was born. Chavez explains.
This is Frankie Chavez’s first adventure in which he explores the Portuguese language in writing his original songs, another new milestone in his career that has traveled all over the world. His repertoire is on a new path, which he adds to three studio albums and an EP.
Despite all these innovations, the unique characteristics of Chavez, the influence of blues, folk, tradition and electricity, past and present, as well as the future in his sound remain unchanged. It was his unmistakable music that allowed him to conquer the world, with numerous national and international tours that earned him critical acclaim and distinction.
Consolidation of the power of large digital conglomerates with a global reach is negatively affecting the global economy, as the power is concentrated in the hands of a few, and this situation requires a tough response from governments.
This is the estimate of the former Minister of Economy of Portugal. Pedro Siza Vieira, who left his post in March this year after five years in the ministry. Participated in the X Lisbon Legal Forum organized by the Brazilian Institute of Education, Development and Research (IDP).
According to Vieira, the world has not yet adapted well to the “new economy”, and this must happen without delay.
“There are several phenomena that explain why the world is redefining the basic principles of the functioning of the global economy, and the most obvious is the emergence of new technologies. The emergence at the global level of companies that control the digital economy causes very big problems for companies that need to contact suppliers and customers through these platforms, which determines the functioning of the market, ”explained the former minister. “It requires legislative intervention to regulate this issue.”
In an interview with TV ConYur, the former Minister of Economy of Portugal also commented on the impact of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine on the global economy. There is no small risk that the planet is going through a great recession, which could trigger a wave of company shutdowns in all countries, he said.
The 10th Lisbon Legal Forum was supported by FGV Knowledge, the Brazilian Institute of Insolvency (Ibajud), the Institute for the Reform of State-Company Relations (IREE) and Décio Freire Advogados.
The city of Niteroi signed this Thursday (30th) the terms of cooperation with Vila de Forjães, located in the city of Esposende, in the district of Braga, in Portugal. The Portuguese village mapped a significant number of foreigners who had emigrated to Niteroi and turned to the municipality to strengthen relations between the localities. The signing, held at a virtual meeting, is part of the program dedicated to the 33rd anniversary of the erection in the village of Forhains.
According to the cooperation agreement, Niteroi and Forjães will carry out exchanges and cooperation in various ways in the fields of science and technology, economics and trade, sports, agriculture, health, education, culture and tourism, thus promoting prosperity and development. .
Niteroi Mayor Axel Grael recalled that last month, Niteroi and Braga ratified a sister city agreement, signed in fact in February this year, to create commercial partnerships and exchange information to stimulate and develop new business. The partnership also prompted Foryaes to approach the city of Niteroi with an offer to sign.
“We have taken this initiative very positively, and we will cooperate, no matter what the cost. In Niteroi we have one of the largest communities of foreigners and a very active and representative Portuguese club. I believe that Brazil and Portugal need to cooperate more and more to share experiences. This approach has a great synergistic effect and will certainly bring positive results,” he stressed.
The project management office of the Niteroi City Hall (EGP), together with the chairman of the parish meeting, will be responsible for coordinating the cooperation. Project Management Office Secretary Katherine Azevedo stressed that the activities will be developed between the municipality and the village.
“We are promoting Niteroi’s internationalization strategy to stimulate development in various areas of the city through activities that benefit both parties and bring people together. There is a natural synergy between peoples, mainly due to the language that facilitates this exchange. During the conversations with the Forjães team, several activities were conceived, which will be detailed in the work plan,” he said.
Forhaes Parish Assembly President Carlos Manuel Gómez de Sa said that the Forhaes Parish Council is partnering with communities where people from Forhaes live. More than 10,000 Brazilians currently live in Braga, he said, and it is one of the fastest growing cities in recent years.
“Right now we are developing the Forjanenses around the World project which, of their own accord, aims to track Forjanenses expats, the community that we have in Niteroi is very important. We had many foreigners who emigrated there, highlighting the figure of Antonio Rodriguez Alves de Faria, the founder of the Companhia de Comércio e Navegação in 1909,” he specified.