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Key pathological mechanism found in plague bacterium

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A more than 50-year-old question has now been answered. Chemists and microbiologists at the Biological Chemistry Center at Umeå University in Sweden are now able to describe in detail the role of calcium in the ability of the plague bacterium Yersinias to cause disease.

“It was previously known that calcium inhibits an important step during the infection process. We have now identified a specific protein called YscU, which binds calcium, and we believe that this is an important part of the calcium effect,” says Hans Wolf-Watz, a senior professor at the Department of Molecular Biology.

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