Thursday, 13 April 2017

Give The Designer The Clap it Deserves!

Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection in the human endocervical tissue is visualized by immunofluorescence microscopy. Bacterial (red) colonization causes columnar endocervical epithelial cells to shed and lose the barrier function, which allows bacteria to enter the endocervical tissue. Frozen tissue sections were stained for immunofluorescence with specific antibodies to the apical junctional protein ZO1 (green) and N. gonorrhoeae (red) and the nuclear dye DAPI (blue).

Credit: Liang-Chun Wang,
Department of Cell biology and Molecular Genetics,
University of Maryland, USA
Neisseria gonorrhoeae infects the human endocervix by activating non-muscle myosin II-mediated epithelial exfoliation

The Intelligent (sic) Designer really does deserve a big clap! It has come up with a brilliant solution to the problem it caused by its lack of a plan!

You see, the Intelligent (sic) Designer, that imaginary being so beloved of creationists but definitely not God because that would make it religion, not science, wants to make life unpleasant for humans (for strictly scientific reasons, obviously, and nothing to do with The Fall because that's religion) so it designed nasty little organisms like Neisseria gonorrhoeae to infect them when they had sex because it doesn't like them having sex the way it designed them to.

The trouble was, in a forgetful moment, it had designed humans so they could cope with nasty little organisms like N. gonorrhoeae and not be made sick by them. Now though, it has briiantly redesigned N. gonorrhoeae so it gets around the protection if gave humans.

In an open access paper published in PLOS Pathogens today, a team of scientists led by Liang-Chun Wang of the University of Maryland, College Park, have worked out how it got around the problem it had created. It does it by exploiting the very defence mechanism the Intelligent (sic) designer designed in the first place.

Colonization and disruption of the epithelium is a major infection mechanism of mucosal pathogens. The epithelium counteracts infection by exfoliating damaged cells while maintaining the mucosal barrier function. The sexually transmitted bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) infects the female reproductive tract primarily from the endocervix, causing gonorrhea. However, the mechanism by which GC overcome the mucosal barrier remains elusive. Using a new human tissue model, we demonstrate that GC can penetrate into the human endocervix by inducing the exfoliation of columnar epithelial cells. We found that GC colonization causes endocervical epithelial cells to shed. The shedding results from the disassembly of the apical junctions that seal the epithelial barrier. Apical junction disruption and epithelial exfoliation increase GC penetration into the endocervical epithelium without reducing bacterial adherence to and invasion into epithelial cells. Both epithelial exfoliation and junction disruption require the activation and accumulation of non-muscle myosin II (NMII) at the apical surface and GC adherent sites. GC inoculation activates NMII by elevating the levels of the cytoplasmic Ca2+ and NMII regulatory light chain phosphorylation. Piliation of GC promotes, but the expression of a GC opacity-associated protein variant, OpaH that binds to the host surface proteins CEACAMs, inhibits GC-induced NMII activation and reorganization and Ca2+ flux. The inhibitory effects of OpaH lead to reductions in junction disruption, epithelial exfoliation, and GC penetration. Therefore, GC phase variation can modulate infection in the human endocervix by manipulating the activity of NMII and epithelial exfoliation.

Author summary
Neisseria gonorrhoeae (GC) infects human genital epithelium causing gonorrhea, a common sexually transmitted infection. Gonorrhea is a critical public health issue due to increased prevalence of antibiotic-resistant strains. Because humans are the only host for GC, a lack of a human infection model has been a major obstacle to our understanding of GC infection. Here we use a human tissue explant model to examine the mechanism by which GC infect the human endocervix, the primary site for GC infection in women. We show that GC penetrate into the human endocervix by activating the actin motor myosin and epithelial shedding. Myosin activation causes the disruption of the endocervical epithelial barrier by inducing apical junction disassembly and epithelial cell shedding, allowing GC penetration into the human endocervical tissue. GC activate myosin by inducing Ca2+-dependent phosphorylation of myosin light chain. We further show that GC can enhance and reduce the penetration by expressing pili and the opacity-associated protein that promotes and inhibits myosin activation, respectively. Our study is the first demonstration of GC penetration into the human endocervix. Our results provide new insights into the mechanism by which GC manipulate signaling and cytoskeletal apparatus in epithelial cells to achieve penetrating and non-penetrating infection.

Basically, the normal defence mechanism against infection in the human reproductive tract is to shed the infected cells from the lining whilst keeping the barrier behind them intact. N. gonorrhoeae has exploited this by breaking the barrier first, so that when the cells are shed, instead of taking the bacteria bacteria away with the dead cell, it now created a route through the epithelium and into the host so it can cause maximum distress and illness.

Neat huh! This designer certainly deserves the clap it gave us!

Yes! Of course I'm being sarcastic! Nothing that could be described as intelligent, and especially something that could be described as benevolent, would have to solve a problem it created in the first place just so it can cause suffering because it has an obsessive disgust of sex, which it designed us to have.

This system quite obviously evolved by a mindless process without a plan and nothing that could be regarded as morality. This is exactly the sort of thing we would expect of evolution.

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  1. I might believe in an intelligent designer if only people who had sex (a) in a way he approved of (b) at a time he approved of and (c) with people he approved of, got infected. Until that happens it's clearly not an intelligent disease.

    Further, what is described above is clearly shows that the disease has evolved from it's origins. Of course, intelligent design adherents have accepted "micro-evolution" as if that's somehow a different form of evolution (!!!) so maybe this change is "micro" enough that they can dismiss it! Or blame it on the devil. That though, makes the devil more powerful than their intelligent designer (really their god - let's be honest), which means their god either allowed this to happen (and is therefore a sick and nasty git) or he isn't all powerful.

    It's thus all getting a bit complicated to believe in an intelligent designer. The Theory of Evolution is far more simple and elegant. Occam's Razor and all that.

  2. Oh good, a place to vent my frustration over all the people wasting their time, all (well, a lot) of our taxes over primitive fairy stories that could not hold water in a million universes. I'll read your posts and get back to you :)

  3. P.S. Going to that Atom link below just gave me a load of indecipherable techy letters and numbers. I'm old.

    1. I'm not sure what you mean by the Atom link. If you want to subscribe there are links on the right. You can follow the blog by email.


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