Deadly tool in Salmonella’s bag of tricks identified

February 4th, 2011 - 5:56 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 4 (ANI): A Yale University study has shed new light on the potentially deadly bacterium Salmonella, a major cause of food poisoning and typhoid.

Salmonella possesses a molecular machine that marshals the proteins it needs to hijack cellular mechanisms and infect millions worldwide.

Now, researchers have described how Salmonella is able to make these proteins line in up in just the right sequence to invade host cells.

Jorge Galan, senior author, said “These mechanisms present us with novel targets that might form the basis for the development of an entirely new class of anti-microbials.”

In the new study, Galan and colleagues identified what they call a bacterial sorting platform, which attracts needed proteins and lines them up in a specific order.

If the proteins do not line up properly, Salmonella, as well as many other bacterial pathogens, cannot “inject” them into host cells to commandeer host cell functions, the lab has found.

Understanding how this machine works raises the possibility that new therapies can be developed which disable this protein delivery machine and therefore thwart the ability of the bacterium to become pathogenic.

This process would not kill the bacteria as most antibiotics do, but would cripple its ability to do harm.

In theory, this means that bacteria such as Salmonella might not develop resistance to new therapies as quickly as they usually do to conventional antibiotics. (ANI)

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