Lipid Cues Meningitis Bacteria’s Lethality | February 14, 2011 Issue - Vol. 89 Issue 7 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 89 Issue 7 | p. 34 | Concentrates
Issue Date: February 14, 2011

Lipid Cues Meningitis Bacteria’s Lethality

Chemical modification switches bacteria from harmless to potentially pathogenic
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: bacteria, phospholipids, molecular modeling, mass spectrometry

A bacterium behind meningitis and the blood infection septicemia resides in up to 30% of human throats, but it’s only when the germ cuts ties with throat colonies and moves to the brain or blood that it can become deadly. Scientists in France have now identified a chemical switch that makes this microbe go rogue (Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1200729). Neisseria meningitidis attaches to throat tissue through hairlike protein appendages called pili, and the chemical . . .

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