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Better Immune Defense Against Anthrax

Date:
September 8, 2009
Source:
Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine
Summary:
Scientists discover a gene in anthrax-causing bacteria may help defend against this form of bio-warfare.

Scientists discover a gene in anthrax-causing bacteria may help defend against this form of bio-warfare.

Spread of the deadly disease anthrax by spores of the bacterium Bacillus anthracis is a known terrorism risk and protection includes finding ways to treat the disease, according to an academic paper reviewed by Faculty of 1000.

Scientists from the University of California (San Diego) have identified a gene in B. anthracis that not only contributes to the severity of the anthrax disease but also makes it more difficult for a patient's immune system to fight the infection.

Mattias Collin, of Lund University, and Marc A. Williams, of the University of Rochester, praised the study as "a true tour de force" on the Faculty of 1000 Biology website and noted that this might provide a new way to treat anthrax poisoning. If the gene, known as ClpX, is inactivated in the anthrax-causing bacteria, the body's natural defence mechanism can better fight the disease.

"This study has indeed identified a potential treasure trove in ClpX," Colin and Williams wrote. While there is much left to learn about the exact mechanism the bacteria use ClpX to attack their hosts, the Faculty of 1000 members added the study will "unveil novel targets for therapeutic intervention in treating anthrax in human subjects.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. McGillivray et al. ClpX Contributes to Innate Defense Peptide Resistance and Virulence Phenotypes of <i>Bacillus anthracis</i>. Journal of Innate Immunity, 2009; 1 (5): 494 DOI: 10.1159/000225955

Cite This Page:

Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine. "Better Immune Defense Against Anthrax." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090908125134.htm>.
Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine. (2009, September 8). Better Immune Defense Against Anthrax. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090908125134.htm
Faculty of 1000: Biology and Medicine. "Better Immune Defense Against Anthrax." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090908125134.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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