Stopping bacteria from talking to each other could help prevent serious infections say scientists from Aberdeen, in new research presented Monday, 06 September 2004 at the Society for General Microbiology’s 155th Meeting at Trinity College Dublin.
“It is war out there. Bacteria need to wait until there are enough of them to attack us, otherwise they just get beaten off by our skin, the antibodies which patrol our blood, and our other defences,” says Professor Andrew Porter from Aberdeen University spin-out company Haptogen. “They use tiny molecules called haptens to talk to each other, letting each other know how many of them there are, much in the same way that we can smell things to sense what is going on in the world around us.”
“If we can block the actions of the haptens then we can fool the bacteria into thinking that there aren’t enough of them to attack us,” says Prof Porter. “The problem is that haptens are such tiny molecules that they don’t trigger our normal immune defences - they are so small they are invisible to our early warning radar.”
Faye Jones | alfa
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