Saturday, 12 May 2018

Natural sniper kills hospital bacterium

Bacteria produce proteins to take out specific competitors. One of these proteins can kill the hospital bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Microbial geneticists have unraveled how this protein launches its attack and ensures that the bacteria die very quickly. In the long term, these proteins hold potential for new antibiotic cocktails.

One type of these proteins -- LIpA bacteriocins -- is highly effective in eliminating the hospital bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This hospital bacterium can be life-threatening for patients with burn wound or cystic fibrosis. The infections it causes are often hard to fight because Pseudomonas bacteria are resistant to many of the antibiotics used today.

Protein antibiotics can be part of the solution in this case. But, until recently, it wasn't clear how the LIpA protein kills the Pseudomonas hospital bacterium.


Maarten G. K. Ghequire, Toon Swings, Jan Michiels, Susan K. Buchanan, RenĂ© De Mot. Hitting with a BAM: Selective Killing by Lectin-Like BacteriocinsmBio, 2018; 9 (2): e02138-17 DOI: 10.1128/mBio.02138-17

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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