Exercises For Week One

The outbreak of cholera in Haiti has once again focused attention on the dangers inherent in sudden outbreaks of infectious disease.
One of the biologically interesting aspects of this problem concerns the development of a cholera vaccine that could prevent the spread of cholera in vulnerable populations. To date, a fully effective vaccine has yet to be developed.
Among the candidates under development, however, is a vaccine directed at Cholera Toxin B, a protein that is critical to the pathogenesis of cholera. In order to understand this protein, its mode of action, and its potential as a vaccine target, I would like you to retrieve and organize some basic information about this protein using (among other tools) the databases we have begun to explore.

In a lab report not to exceed two pages, please address the following questions:

1) What is the role of toxin B in cholera?
2) What factors might determine the viability of toxin B as a vaccine target?
3) What is the amino-acid sequence of toxin B?
4) What is the nucleotide sequence of toxin B?
5) Are there other proteins in Vibrio cholerae that appear to be evolutionarily related to toxin B? How did you decide?
6) What proteins in organisms other than Vibrio cholerae appear to be homologous to toxin B? How did you decide?
7) Do the homologs of Toxin B shed any light on the structure or function of Toxin B? Do they help us decide if Toxin B is a good candidate as a vaccine target?