An unprecedented picture of how bacteria latch on to human cells has been published by UK, French and US scientists. They have produced a finely detailed model of one of the tools used by some of the nastiest varieties of the stomach bug, Escherichia coli, to stick to and gain entry to host cells.
Led by senior author Dr Stephen Matthews, Reader in Chemical and Structural Biology at Imperial College London, the research is published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Cell (*See Notes to Eds).
Bacteria need to stick to a host cell, before colonising and attacking it, and causing infection. They do this with the help of proteins on their outer surface called adhesins and invasins. The former attaches itself to the host cell and the latter assists the invasion. Together they define how aggressive or virulent the bacteria are at attacking the host.
Tom Miller | alfa
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