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The Power of Two

Bacteria Handshakes

Published August 12, 2014 2:16 PM by Eleanor Wolfram

Career coaches make good money teaching on the numerous meanings that a handshake can tell about someone. It seems that firm handshakes are better than weak and limp ones. And it is a definite no-no to extended a sweaty palm.

Just recently, a team of Kansas State University (KSU) biochemists have discovered that proteins also have hands and are quite fond of shaking them. However, these microbial handshakes facilitate bacteria in establishing and spreading infections.

Through research, scientists have uncovered the mechanism of how a protein's hands work in collaboration with infectious bacteria. It seems that the process begins with tiny protein loops on the surface of cells. These loops function like human hands making contact, but instead they are on the surface of bacterial cells.

It seems that these structures allow the bacteria to recognize and grab materials, such as iron from the environment surrounding it. As all cellular structures need iron to survive, putting a halt to the hand grabbing access will prevent the pathogenesis The KSU scientists are the first to observe this process and hope is that this new-found information will allow for biochemists and physiologists to develop specialized interventions and treatment from E. coli epidemics and other harmful microorganisms.

The positive outcome of this research could mean a boost to the antibiotic pharmaceutical field, which will in turn provide increased protection of humans and animal against bacterial infections.

I can definitely give a two hands-high five to KSU research findings.

posted by Eleanor Wolfram
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