New finding could lead to better ways to disarm gut-wrenching superbug
A new genetic discovery could equip researchers to fight a superbug by stripping it of its power rather than killing it outright.
Scientists have identified a set of genes in Clostridium difficile that turns on its production of toxins. Those toxins can damage intestinal cells, leading to diarrhea, abdominal pain and potentially life-threatening disease. Unlocking the bug’s genetic weapon-making secret could pave the way for new nonantibiotic therapies to disarm the superbug while avoiding collateral damage to other “good” gut bacteria, researchers report August 16 in mBio.
Identifying a specific set of genes that control toxin production is a big step forward, says Matthew Bogyo. Bogyo, a chemical biologist at Stanford University, also studies ways to defuse C. difficile’s toxin-making.