The biological “gateway” that anthrax uses to enter healthy cells has been uncovered by microbiologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Anthrax spores enter the cell through Mac-1, a receptor that sits on the surface of certain cells. This is the first study to uncover exactly how the bacteria get inside cells to begin with, the UAB researchers said. Previous studies have shown what happens after anthrax spores enter the body and wreak havoc.
Unraveling the anthrax-Mac-1 gateway is a milestone in the ongoing efforts to protect humans from bioterrorism and biological warfare, the UAB microbiologists said. Such a discovery will speed the development of new drugs and vaccines to fight or prevent anthrax infection, and advance the understanding of bacterial infection. The findings are published in the online version of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Release date: January 25, 2008
Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham
Filed Under: Drug Discovery