Researchers have found that a primitive type of ion channel similar to those found in mammalian nerve cells helps bacteria resist the blast of acid they encounter in the stomach of their hosts. The discovery suggests a plausible mechanism whereby bacteria can fend off stomach acidity long enough to establish themselves in the intestine. More broadly, said the scientists, the finding represents the first insight into why bacteria have forms of the same ion channels -- proteins that control the flow of ions through cell membranes -- found in higher organisms.
The above story is based on materials provided by Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Ion Channels Allow Bacteria To Resist Stomach Acid." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 October 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021017065437.htm>.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute. (2002, October 17). Ion Channels Allow Bacteria To Resist Stomach Acid. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 9, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021017065437.htm
Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "Ion Channels Allow Bacteria To Resist Stomach Acid." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/10/021017065437.htm (accessed March 9, 2014).