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Enzyme chews hole in strep bacteria

In the search for alternatives to conventional antibiotics, researchers have identified an enzyme that kills the bacteria that causes strep throat.

The enzyme, PlyC, operates by locking onto the surface of a bacteria cell and chewing a hole in the cell wall large enough for the bacteria’s inner membrane to protrude from the cell, ultimately causing the cell to burst and die.

Research has shown that alternative antimicrobials such as PlyC can effectively kill bacteria. However, fundamental questions remain about how bacteria respond to the holes these therapeutics make in their cell wall and what size holes bacteria can withstand before breaking apart.
 
 

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