Friday 19 February 2016

On pathogenic bacteria

Some of the most pathogenic bacteria in the world possess the ability to quickly overwhelm and kill their prey cells, by injecting toxic proteins into them – often using a process called type VI secretion (T6S). When first discovered in 2006, scientists believed this system was unstoppable, but a new study from Princeton University, USA, and the University of Basel, Switzerland, revealed that if the target cells are a large enough group, the predatory bacteria cannot overpower them all. Although the outer organisms are vulnerable to attack, if the group is big enough the inner cells can reproduce at a rate that means the pathogen is unable to take over.


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