Bacteria-caused intestinal inflammation may
lead to diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Few treatments exist for this condition. But University of
California, Irvine microbiologists have demonstrated a new approach that
may lead to more effective remedies.
In the journal Nature, Manuela Raffatellu, associate professor of microbiology & molecular genetics, and colleagues provide the first evidence that small protein molecules called microcins, produced by beneficial gut microbes, play a critical part in blocking certain illness-causing bacteria in inflamed intestines.
In their study, the researchers show that a probiotic strain of E. coli called Nissle 1917 utilizes microcins to inhibit the pathogen salmonella and an invasive form of E. coli (isolated from patients with inflammatory bowel disease).
She added that microcins are essential for the therapeutic activity of E. coli Nissle, and her next step is to purify microcins and test whether they can be given as targeted antibiotics.