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Gut Bacteria Lose their Tails to Evade Antibodies

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New research reveals the complex dynamic between gut bacteria and the immune system that keeps proteins from flagellin—bacterial tails—under control.

In healthy individuals, the only thing that separates the lining of the human gut from the some 100 trillion bacterial cells in the gastrointestinal tract is a layer of mucous.

But when gut bacteria do come in contact with cells on the gut’s surface, inflammation occurs, triggered by bacterial cell proteins. One particularly potent protein comes from the corkscrew-like tails of bacteria that propel the microorganisms.

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