A previously unidentified protein on the surface of intestinal cells is giving Purdue University researchers clues on how to prevent disease
A computer monitor in Arun Bhunias research lab displays a Listeria monocytogenes adhering to human intestinal cells. Research conducted by Bhunia, a professor of food science at Purdue, and Jennifer Wampler, a postdoctoral student, led to the discovery of the protein on the surface of intestinal cells that allows a food-borne pathogen to attach to the intestine. (Purdue Agricultural Communications photo/Tom Campbell)
The scientists believe their results eventually could lead to a way to prevent food-borne Listeria monocytogenes infection, which has a 20 percent fatality rate, as well as other diseases. The study of the bacteria is reported in the February issue of the journal Infection and Immunity.
"This research reveals a detailed mechanism that allows interaction of Listeria with a cell-surface protein, or receptor, on intestinal cells," said Arun Bhunia, a Department of Food Science microbiologist. "Knowing the entryway into the cell will allow us in the future to develop a method to prevent that interaction."
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