Israeli ‘antibacterial weapon’ arms good germs to kill bad germs
A Tel Aviv lab has equipped the good bacteria with “poison arrows,” which they shoot at the bad bacteria, inflicting a fatal blow.
“We have built an antibacterial weapon that allows ‘good’ bacteria to attack bad bacteria with toxins and neutralize them,” Dr Dor Salomon, senior researcher of the University of Tel Aviv project, told The Times of Israel. Aviv.
His team from the Department of Clinical Biology and Immunology published an article on his success, under laboratory conditions, in the peer-reviewed journal EMBO Reports.
He wants to try the technology on fish farms in a few months, and says that within a few years it could be part of doctors’ arsenal against human infections.
Salomon said that with antibiotic resistance of growing concern to the medical profession, solutions like his that fight infection without deploying drugs have the potential to save many lives.
One of the most effective systems available to bad bacteria to kill other bacteria is called the type 6 secretion system, which was discovered about 15 years ago.
Salomon’s team, which also includes researchers Biswanath Jana and Kinga Keppel, eliminated this system of bad bacteria. He “installed” the system in harmless bacteria that had been “programmed” to recognize pathogens and attack them, without harming other microbes.
“We have designed a proof of concept for a safe bacteria that can respond to a signal from the outside, such as the presence of a pathogen that we want to get rid of,” said Salomon.
“We have equipped the harmless bacteria with the type 6 secretion system, and it is propelled as an arrow-shaped protein complex when activated, which brute force impregnates a neighboring cell and releases blood into it. toxins.
“This secretion system is normally used by bacteria to manipulate or kill neighboring cells, but we use it to arm safe bacteria with an antibacterial weapon.”