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One promising alternative to antibiotics is the use of bacteriophages, the natural enemies of bacteria. Researchers at IRIG unveiled the infection of E. coli bacteria by bacteriophage T5 for better control and use in health, biotechnology, etc.
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Alternatives must be found and validated to avoid falling back into the pre-antibiotic era. The use of bacteriophages, natural enemies of bacteria, is one of the most promising alternatives, both in agriculture/veterinary medicine and in human health. Sixty percent of known phages consist of a capsid protecting the viral DNA and a long flexible tail, which serves to recognise the host via one or more receptor binding proteins (RBPs) located at the tip of the tail. The RBP-receptor interaction triggers the infection: opening of the capsid, perforation of the bacterial wall and injection of the viral DNA into the host cytoplasm. Once injected, the viral DNA takes control of the bacterium and converts it into a phage factory; the cycle ends with the explosion of the bacterium and the release of hundreds of new virions.
Linares R, Arnaud CA, Effantin G, Darnault C, Epalle NH, Boeri Erba E, Schoehn G and Breyton C Structural basis of bacteriophage T5 infection trigger and E. coli cell wall perforation. Sci Adv. 2023
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.