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Battling bacteria: Research shows iron's importance in infection, suggests new therapies

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A Kansas State University research team has resolved a 40-year-old debate on the role of iron acquisition in bacterial invasion of animal tissues.

The collaborative research—led by Phillip Klebba, professor and head of the department of biochemistry—clarifies how microorganisms colonize animal hosts and how scientists may block them from doing so. The findings suggest new approaches against bacterial disease and new strategies for antibiotic development. The study—in collaboration with Tyrrell Conway, director of the Microarray and Bioinformatics Core Facilities at the University of Oklahoma, and Salete M. Newton, Kansas State University research professor of biochemistry—recently appeared in PLOS ONE. It shows how iron acquisition affects the ability of bacteria to colonize animals, which is the first stage of microbial disease.

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