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Bacteria that work together to cause infection (blog post)

There are lots of things I enjoy about studying bacteria. I love their biochemistry and the secret inner workings of their metabolic pathways. I love that everything they do they manage within the confines of a single cell, and I love that you can go into a bacterial cell fairly easily and just mess around with the genes until they make what you want.

But what I’m really enjoying exploring at the moment is more ecological bacteriology; how bacteria interact with their environment, how they respond to changes to stresses and, most importantly, to other bacteria. I’ve covered how natural throat bacteria can help destroy dangerous pathogens such as MRSA Staph aureus so in this post I’m going to look at almost the opposite; how some bacteria can give each other a helping hand in order to infect humans.

Campylobacter jejuni is a bacteria that I feel a special affinity for because I’ve worked with it, back in my first ever summer project. Unfortunately it’s not a very nice bacteria and can lead to bad stomach illnesses with some rare but quite threatening complications. It’s found in chicken meat and cheese as it is perfectly capible of surviving happily in animals without causing them any diseases.
 
 

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