The study discovery providing an path to the pathogen targeting antibiotics; A protein discovering in the Legionella pneumophila showing how the bacterium infecting the cells in the body; and may provide a path for new antibiotics that only affect virulent bacteria. But by taking with the food is a common warning for people using antibiotics. This advice for taking antibiotics is needed because current drugs kill any type of bacteria; including the helpful bacteria in our intestines that help us digest our food.
When taking current antibiotics; it can cause digestive distress, and even worse outcomes. Although we may think of bacteria as disease causing microorganisms, there are about as many bacteria in your body as human cells. And nearly all are helpful they are nearly as essential for human survival as air, food, and water. Which is why a more selective antibiotic would be important.
Pathogen targeting antibiotics
But by finding the mechanism by which the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease begins its invasion into host cells. This discovery by itself provides a path for treatment of the relatively rare disease; which affects fewer than 20,000 people per year in the United States. But the implications of the discovery go well beyond Legionnaires. Finding that bacteria inject approximately 300 proteins into the host cell; which allows the bacteria to survive and replicate once inside the host.
This showing that a single enzyme producing by bacteria; can override cell defenses speeding infections. The bacterial pathogen Legionella pneumophila creates an intracellular niche permissive for its replication by extensively modulating host-cell functions using hundreds of effector proteins delivered by its Dot/Icm secretion systemThe new discovery finds that that enzyme is regulating by a single enzyme through a unique mechanism.
Drug therapy to fight virulent bacteria
This provides a new target for drug therapy to fight virulent bacteria. One common problem for current antibiotics is that they kill indiscriminately because they attack the central functionality of the bacterial cells. This will disrupt the microbiome. The study saying that a drug that attacking just this infection mechanism would not affect the good bacteria that live in our bodies.
The injected protein molecule uses the cellular molecule ATP in a way that is unique in how it cleaves the energy molecule, which might provide an attractive mechanism for a drug target. Now that study has identifying this protein that is requir for infection, we can screen for compounds that interfere with its action and investigate those to see if they might be suitable as new drugs.