Illustration des bactéries intestinaux

The Clostridioides difficile would have a chain mail shield

Modern science has provided solutions to many ailments that were once incurable. However, some bacteria responsible for these diseases remain just as resistant. Recently, a team of biologists was able to identify the cause of the resistance of the bacteria Clostridioides difficile located in the small intestine and which is responsible for diarrhea in men.

Indeed, this microbe would already be naturally resistant to many antibiotics. However, a further analysis allowed to reveal that this force is conferred on him by a shield similar to a flexible and resistant chain mail. Thus, experiments are still in progress to overcome this barrier.

The structural microbiologist Paula Salgado from Newcastle University in England chaired the research. The results of the experiment are published in the journal NatureCommunications.

Very elaborate and effective protection

In fact, using X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy, Paula Salgado discovered the main protein of the S layer of C. difficile, called SlpA. Thus, this careful observation showed that the structure of this bacterium consists of meticulously linked proteins with tiny spaces reminiscent of the chainmail.

“Because the spaces are so small, few molecules (like antibiotics) can pass through. The outer barrier of C. difficile is flexible, yet strong at the same time. »

Paula Salgado from Newcastle University in England

According to studies, if taking antibiotics eliminates a significant number of good bacteria, the microbial system of the intestine is upset and allows C. difficile to multiply. As this bacterium is naturally resistant to many antibiotics, the treatment to combat it becomes quite difficult. Finally, this natural shield explains why drugs find it difficult to cross the fence exterior impenetrable to the microbe.

Understanding how this shield works is key

In effect, deleting a region of layer S named D2 made the cells It’s hard sensitive to lysozyme. This is an enzyme usually present in saliva that tears apart the exterior of microbes.

The biologists concluded that understanding how the bacteria’s S layer forms could lead them to new ways of enter the bacteria. However, it is urgent to find quick solutions, because one in six people infected get a second infection.

“If we have drugs to specifically target C. difficile, then we could break that cycle. »

Paula Salgado from Newcastle University in England


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