Genes that control toxin production in C. difficile ID’d | Science News

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Genes that control toxin production in C. difficile ID’d

New finding could lead to better ways to disarm gut-wrenching superbug

By
10:00am, August 16, 2016
<em>C. difficile</em>

BATTLING A BUG  Unraveling the toxin-making genetic pathway in Clostridium difficile (shown) may help scientists design nonantibiotic therapies to fight the 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.

C. difficile bacteria infect a half million people and kill

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