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Researcher Discovers Cellular Mechanism That Permits Spread Of Food-Borne Bacteria

September 20, 2009: 11:25 AM EST
New research has uncovered a cellular mechanism that plays a key role in spreading a deadly food-borne bacterium linked to outbreaks of listeriosis traced to food processing plants in the U.S. and Canada. The bacterium Listeria monocytogenes can cause pregnant women to lose their fetuses. It also has triggered fatal cases of meningitis in people with weak immune systems and in the elderly. The previously unknown process involves the bacterium spreading from a host cell to a second cell, where it overwhelms that cell's ability to defend against infection. The discovery may be relevant for other similar bacterial pathogens.
Tina Rajabian, Balramakrishna Gavicherla, et al., "The bacterial virulence factor InlC perturbs apical cell junctions and promotes cell-to-cell spread of Listeria", Nature Cell Biology, September 20, 2009, © Nature Publishing Group
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