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Sugar on bacteria surface serves as base for a web of resistance

The bacteria responsible for chronic infections in cystic fibrosis patients use one of the sugars on the germs' surface to start building a structure that helps the microbes resist efforts to kill them, new research shows.

Scientists have determined that the bacterial cell-surface sugar, a polysaccharide called Psl, is anchored on the surface of the bacterium as a helix, providing a structure that encourages cell-to-cell interaction. When multiple bacterial cells join together with the help of such a structure, they form what is called a biofilm, a persistent community of bugs that is able to resist the effects of a human immune response, as well as antibiotic drugs.
 
 

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