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When can a vitamin be bad for you?

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When it’s made by the stomach ulcer-causing bacterium Helicobacter pylori. A study just released by mBio reveals that the enzymes that synthesize vitamin B6 are important virulence factors for this pathogen, possibly because of the role vitamin B6 plays in building fully-functioning flagella to get around the human stomach. One vitamin B6-making enzyme in particular, PdxA, is especially crucial: H. pylori can’t establish a chronic infection in mice without it.

But the fact that vitamin B6 plays such an important role in pathogenesis is good news for drug development: the B6-making enzymes are present in H. pylori and other pathogens, but not in humans, making them promising targets for antibiotics to treat H. pylori infections.
 
 

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