Harmless gut microbes resist cholera with good defense or better offense!
Microbe of the episode:
The community of microbes in our guts is highly diverse, yet generally they all coexist relatively peacefully. Some pathogens can invade this community and cause massive disruptions. Cholera is a disease caused by a pathogen that injects its competing bacteria with toxins and disrupts the health of the gut, leading to very watery diarrhea that can quickly dehydrate victims.
This study found that some microbes commonly found harmlessly existing in the gut can resist destruction by the cholera pathogen. One of these resists by striking back with its own toxin injection system; the other creates a barrier of slime around itself that keeps the invader's toxins from reaching it. Such resistant gut microbes could help to reduce the threat of diseases such as cholera.
- War in the gut: How human microbiota resist the cholera bacterium
Flaugnatti N, Isaac S, Lemos Rocha LF, Stutzmann S, Rendueles O, Stoudmann C, Vesel N, Garcia-Garcera M, Buffet A, Sana TG, Rocha EPC, Blokesch M. 2021. Human commensal gut Proteobacteria withstand type VI secretion attacks through immunity protein-independent mechanisms. Nat Commun 12:5751.
Other interesting stories:
- Producing super-strong fibers with engineered microbes
- Some gut bacteria store some drugs inside their cells
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