University of York researchers have found that bacteria use 'invisibility cloak' to evade the human immune system.
This implies that bacteria such as Haemophilus influenzae, that causes ear infections in kids, can travel throughout the body without being susceptible to an attack by the immune system.
A multidisciplinary research team from the Departments of Biology and Chemistry at York, led by Dr Gavin Thomas, of the Department of Biology, has been studying the mechanism by which bacteria capture the molecule used to make the 'cloak', called sialic acid.
It has now been discovered that an enzymatic activity aides in the more efficient capture of sialic acids released from our cell surfaces.
In fact, other bacteria also use similar methods like the 'invisibility cloak', to capture sialic acid as a simple food source, thus they are literally eating us from the inside.
"This novel enzyme, as well as other steps required for the formation of the 'invisibility cloak' that we have discovered in York, now offers the chance to develop novel antimicrobials against these bacteria," said Thomas.
The research is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.