Popov Lab

Some of the latest findings from the Popov lab include:

In the recent article, Anthrolysin O and fermentation products mediate the toxicity of Bacillus anthracis to lung epithelial cells under microaerobic conditions (FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2011 Feb;61(1):15-27), Popova T.G., Millis B., Chung M.C., Bailey C., and Popov S.G. reported on the discovery of a new, previously unrecognized mechanism of B. anthracis toxicity challenging the main concept of the anthrax field and promising a profound impact on the way we defend ourselves against anthrax. The article findings support a theory of metabolic anthrax toxicity suggested more than a hundred years ago, but overshadowed by the discovery of anthrax lethal toxin during the last 50 years. Although widely accepted, the current theory claims lethal toxin as a sole cause of death in anthrax but cannot explain the “anthrax paradox”, when some strains of animals sensitive to the lethal toxin are resistant to the disease. Now the authors present a mechanistic explanation of these observations. They demonstrate that during bacterial growth a combined action of metabolic acidosis, hypoxia, and the pore-forming protein generate a toxic milieu killing the host cells independently of lethal toxin.