Sunday 5 January 2014

New weapon against superbugs

 A research team have discovered a protein that kills bacteria. The isolation of this protein, produced by a virus that attacks bacteria, could help protect patients from hospital 'superbugs'.
The protein has been identified by study a bacteriophage called T17. Bacteriophages, often referred to as "phages," are viruses that infect and replicate in bacteria. T7 is a particularly virulent 'phage that infects Escherichia coli bacteria. The researchers have found that one of the proteins, called 0.4, impedes cell division in E. coli, causing the cells of the bacteria to elongate and then die.
Whilst the bacteriophage has a potential use in the fight against hospital superbugs, it remains that no bacteriophage preparation has been approved in Western medicine for treating systemic bacterial infections.
The research was led by Dr. Udi Qimron of Tel Aviv University's Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine. The findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research paper is titled "Gene product 0.4 increases bacteriophage T7 competitiveness by inhibiting host cell division".

Posted by Tim Sandle

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