Sunday 16 March 2014

Llama antibodies can tackle Clostridium difficile

Highly specific antibodies derived from llamas may provide a new method for controlling deadly infections from the opportunistic bacterial pathogen Clostridium difficile, according to a new report.
The report describes how llama antibodies recognize the Clostridium difficile’s two central toxin proteins -- toxin A (TcdA) and toxin B (TcdB). Clostridium difficile (C diff) is a species of Gram-positive spore-forming bacteria that is best known for causing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. C. difficile infection is a growing problem in healthcare facilities. Outbreaks occur when humans accidentally ingest spores in a medical facility.
To show that the llama antibodies had the best structure to combat C diff, the scientists studied the three-dimensional structures of antibody-toxin complexes using X-ray crystallography.

From this, studies were undertaken to show that the smaller size of the llama antibodies had the greatest potential against C diff. Further trials are set to continue.
The implications of the research are that a new generation of engineered antibodies could be created and that these may be more effective at preventing the toxins from damaging the intestine during the normal course of the disease.
The research was undertaken at the Alberta Glycomics Centre at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta, in collaboration with researchers at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa. The findings have been published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The research paper is titled “Structural Basis for Antibody Recognition in the Receptor-binding Domains of Toxins A and B from Clostridium difficile.”

Posted by Tim Sandle

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