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University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach


Bacillus anthracis spores form in response to starvation and can withstand extremes of heat, radiation, and chemical toxins, making B. anthracis spores ideal vehicles for infections.1 The resistance and dormancy of bacterial spores are dependent on a largely dehydrated core.2 The spore core is not only devoid of water, but contains between 0.8 to 1M calcium complexed with 2,6-pyridinedicarboxylic acid (dipicolinic acid, DPA). The DPA-calcium complex (CaDPA) helps protect DNA, RNA, and the metabolic enzymes needed for the establishment of a vegetative cell cytoplasm.3 An anthrax infection starts with the germination of B. anthracis spores in a macrophage.4 The germinated spore can then produce toxins that eventually kill the macrophage.5 During B. anthracis spore germination, large concentrations of calcium ions (Ca+2) are released.3 Calcium ions act as a second messenger in macrophages, and it is possible that the release of these ions interfere with the macrophages ability to detect newly germinated B. anthracis spores.6 In this project, we will investigate the role of calcium release on infected macrophage viability.


Anthrax; Bacillus anthracis; Calcium ions; Macrophages—Activation


Environmental Chemistry | Other Chemicals and Drugs | Other Chemistry



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