Bacteria enter via mucus-making gut cells

Cells making slippery mucus provide a sticking point for disease-causing bacteria in the gut, according to a study published on October 3 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

A foodborne bacterium called Listeria monocytogenes (sometimes found in stinky cheeses) invades the body by binding to a protein called E-cadherin. However, as E-cadherin is normally buried within the junctions between gut cells, and is thus hidden from the , it's not clear how the bug gains traction.

In response to Listeria invasion, specialized gut cells called goblet cells produce in an attempt to flush the bacteria away. Scientists in France now find that the reorganization required for goblet cells to expel their slippery product also exposes E-cadherin on their surface, allowing Listeria to grab hold and cause systemic infection.

More information: Nikitas, G., et al. 2011. J. Exp. Med. doi:10.1084/jem.20110560

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A sticky solution for identifying effective probiotics

Nov 24, 2009

Scientists have crystallised a protein that may help gut bacteria bind to the gastrointestinal tract. The protein could be used by probiotic producers to identify strains that are likely to be of real benefit to people.

Recommended for you

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

19 hours ago

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

23 hours ago

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

Dec 19, 2014

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

Dec 19, 2014

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.