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Biologists identify new strategy used by bacteria during infection

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Purdue University biologists identified a new way in which bacteria hijack healthy cells during infection, which could provide a target for new antibiotics.

Zhao-Qing Luo, the associate professor of biological sciences who led the study, said the team discovered a new enzyme used by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila - which causes Legionnaires' disease - to control its host cell in order to take up residence.

"Legionnaires' disease is a severe form of pneumonia, and this finding could lead to the design of a new therapy that saves lives," Luo said. "At the same time it also provides great insight into a general mechanism of both bacterial infection and cell signaling events in higher organisms including humans."

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