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Discovery of earliest life forms' operation promises new therapies for key diseases

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Bacteria provide a well-known playground for scientists and the evolution of these earliest life forms has shed important perspective on potential therapies for some of the most common, deadly diseases. Researchers at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have now discovered that, the gas nitric oxide (NO), produced in all cells of the human body for natural purposes, plays a fundamental regulatory role in controlling bacterial function, via a signaling mechanism called S-nitrosylation (SNO), which binds NO to protein molecules. In addition, the researchers discovered a novel set of 150 genes that regulate SNO production and disruption of these genes created bacterial cell damage resembling the cell damage seen in many common human diseases. Collectively these data point to new classes of antibiotics and several new disease treatments.

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