To researchers’ surprise, one Pseudomonas infection is much like the next | Science News

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To researchers’ surprise, one Pseudomonas infection is much like the next

Consistent genetic changes in bacteria may point to treatment strategies

By
3:07pm, October 1, 2010

Bacteria make some common moves when setting up house in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis, a new study finds.

A new study of Pseudomonas aeruginosabacteria isolated from cystic fibrosis patients with chronic lung infections shows that the microbe may evolve similarly in everyone who contracts it, researchers reported online September 21 in mBio. Consistent changes in the activity of 24 genes may provide the bacteria with a competitive advantage when infecting the lungs —  and an Achilles’ heel that scientists might exploit.

“If some of these selective changes are key to the survival of the organism, then those are natural targets for therapy,” says George O’Toole, a microbiologist at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, N.H.

Researchers led by Marvin Whiteley, a microbial geneticist and physiologist at the University of Texas at Austin, examined gene activity profiles of P. aeruginosabacte
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