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Mechanism That Helps Bacteria Avoid Destruction In Cells Identified

Infectious diseases currently cause about one-third of all human deaths worldwide, more than all forms of cancer combined. Advances in cell biology and microbial genetics have greatly enhanced understanding of the cause and mechanisms of infectious diseases. Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University, the Pasteur Institute in Paris, and Yale University reported in PLoS ONE, a way in which intracellular pathogens exploit the biological attributes of their hosts in order to escape destruction.

Intracellular pathogens include Chlamydia, which causes infertility in women, and Legionella, which causes Legionnaire's disease. These pathogens are able to escape destruction and remain in the cells. Until now, it was unclear how they were able avoid the destruction process. The team of researchers, led by Fabienne Paumet, Ph.D., assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, found that it appears to be due to SNARE-like proteins expressed by the pathogen.

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