Researchers from EPFL Disarm Bacteria

Researchers from EPFL Disarm Bacteria

Researchers from École Politechnique Fédérale de Lausanne  (EPFL) have decoded an important mechanism that allows certain bacteria to dig holes into the outer membranes of other types of cells. The bacteria assemble little pore-like spikes which then allow to pierce the membrane of target cells, usually leading to their  death.

The researchers worked with the bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila, known to be the cause of some intestine illnesses. They identified a peptide secreted in the intestine which can induce the formation of the spikes and therefore arms the bacteria with its deadly machinery.

This mechanism is a potential target for future drug research, especially against antibiotic resistant bacteria. If the spike formation is inhibited, the bacteria should not be able to penetrate the membrane of the host organism anymore, hence, losing its virulence.

The great advantage of drugs inhibiting a specific virulent mechanism would be that the bacteria might not mutate as easily as bacteria exposed to deadly antibiotics. Therefore, drug resistance formation would be strongly reduced compared to know antibiotic medication.

The reference article was published by the EPFL.

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