Researchers have discovered a key mechanism used by intestinal cells to defend themselves against one of the world's most common hospital-acquired bacterial infections -- a mechanism they think they can exploit to produce a therapy to protect against the effects of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The scientists made their discovery while investigating cellular responses to two powerful toxins generated by the bacteria Clostridium difficile, which can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening bowel inflammation.
"About one percent of all hospital patients develop a C. difficile infection -- they're treated with antibiotics to the point that benign gut bacteria are knocked out, and because C. difficile is resistant to antibiotics it's able to proliferate," said University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston associate professor Tor Savidge, lead author of a paper on the discovery to be published online Aug. 21 in Nature Medicine. "Then it releases these toxins that trigger colonic disease."
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"Host S-nitrosylation inhibits clostridial small molecule–activated glucosylating toxins" (http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nm.2405.html)