Antibiotic Trojan horse for cholera may be possible

Research to work out how Vibrio cholerae, the bacterium that causes cholera, originally became the deadly pathogen that it is now could lead to a better way of delivering antibiotics. The bug became dangerous in its evolutionary past when it took onboard two new genes after being infected with a type of virus called a bacteriophage. This virus latched onto a filament (pilus) on the surface of the bacterium and was pulled inside, and this same process could be used as a way to transport antibiotics right inside bacteria. Lisa Craig of Canada's Simon Fraser University explains: "We do have antibiotics for V. cholerae, but these antibiotics also kill beneficial bacteria in the gut. The idea of using pili as a Trojan horse for antibiotic delivery is new and allows us to specifically and effectively target a given bacterial pathogen." Press release | Abstract

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