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Designing Probiotics to Ambush Gut Pathogens

"Researchers in Australia are developing diversionary tactics to fool disease-causing bacteria in the gut. Many bacteria, including those responsible for major gut infections, such as cholera, produce toxins that damage human tissues when they bind to complex sugar receptors displayed on the surface of cells in the host's intestine.

At the Society for General Microbiology's meeting at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, today (8 September), Professor James Paton and colleagues from the University of Adelaide explained how they had added molecular mimics of these host cell receptors onto the surface of harmless bacteria capable of surviving in the human gut. If given during an infection caused by a toxin-producing bacterium, these "receptor-mimic probiotics" will bind the toxins in the gut very strongly, thereby preventing the toxins from interacting with receptors on host intestinal cells and causing disease.

Effective vaccines are not yet available for many diarrhoeal diseases; and trying to control or treat these diseases with antibiotics can lead to the development of drug-resistance. One advantage of this approach to treatment is that the pathogenic bacteria are unlikely to develop a resistance to it, as that would destroy the basic mechanism by which they cause disease."

Via - EurkAlert

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