- Bacteria have specific surface proteins which are used for binding to host cells. Scientists at the Centre of Advanced Study in Crystallography and Biophysics, at the University of Madras, have succeeded in characterising such surface proteins of some pathogenic bacteria including Streptococcus agalactiae and Enterococcus faecium. Infection by both of these bacteria can have deadly effects on humans.
- The studies by the group have also shown that the structure of the surface protein of E. faecium has a special fold which sets it apart from all known categories of protein structure known so far.
- The findings can be used to develop drugs to target bacteria that are resistant to treatment with antibiotics.
- The strain S. agalacticae is a Gram positive bacterium that causes life-threatening diseases such as bacterial sepsis and meningitis in newborn babies and several diseases including pneumonia in non-pregnant adults.
- But the more exciting discovery is the structure of the SgrA protein of E. faecium.
- This antibiotic-resistant bacterium causes urinary tract infection and surgical site infections.
- Catheter-induced infections could also be caused by this strain as its surface protein SgrA is known to be able to bind to abiotic surfaces, such as polystyrene.
- This protein is one of those critical for bacterial colonisation and biofilm formation on inserted medical devices.
Source: The hindu