MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

University of Freiburg researchers find C. difficile molecular docking site

C difficile molecular docking site found
C difficile molecular docking site found | Courtesy of

A team of researchers from the University of Freiburg recently identified which molecular docking site binds with C. difficile, a dangerous intestinal bacterium that causes both diarrhea and life-threatening intestinal infections -- even after long-term antibiotic treatment.

In Western nations, infections caused by C. difficile hypervirulent strains have quickly increased and are more difficult to treat, and therefore dangerous. C. difficile pathology is mainly caused by two toxins that the bacteria release into the intestinal epithelium.

The binding site at the molecular docking location enables the toxins from C. difficile to connect to the molecule’s receptor within the membrane of the intestinal epithelium. Docking sites resemble elevators in that they transport the toxins from the cell’s exterior to its interior. Using this method, C. difficile toxins conquer the cell’s membrane and then infect the body.

C. difficile is typically found in hospitals. The elderly and people with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of contracting the bacteria.

"Bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics," Dr. Klaus Aktories, pharmacologist at the University of Freiburg, said. "That's why new types of therapy that aren't based primarily on bacteria are necessary. Our goal in the future should be to reduce the toxicological potential of toxins as well.”

Further details are available in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

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University of Freiburg

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