Predatory bacteria prey invasion mechanism uncovered

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Scientists have determined the high-resolution structure and function of a diguanlylate cyclase, DgcB, which is responsible for the initiation of prey invasion in the predatory bacteria Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus.

Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus and other predatory bacteria attack ‘prey’ bacteria by attaching to the cell exterior, entering the cell and consuming it. There has been interest in these bacteria as a potential alternative strategy for treating antibiotic-resistant infections, however, in order to use these predatory bacteria as a therapy more needs to be understood about their mechanisms.

In this study, published recently in Nature Communications, a team led by the University of Birmingham (UK) has investigated the mecahnsisms underlying prey invasion in Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus. The researchers focused on the enzyme DgcB, which is known to produce cyclic-di-GMP, a molecule that in turn can effect lifestyle change.

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