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Curbing C. difficile's toxin production
Date:9/5/2007

dY activity, however, indicates to the bacteria that they are lacking key nutrients and that it is time to make the toxins they need to get food from the host cells.

To determine how CodY tells the bacteria not to make toxins, Sonenshein and colleagues removed DNA from the bacteria, and observed the interaction of the DNA and the CodY protein in vitro. They found that CodY targeted the region of the bacterial chromosome that includes the toxin genes. When CodY senses that the cell has enough nutrients, it binds to this gene region, and prevents the bacterium from making toxin, says Sonenshein. Conversely, when food is scarce, the CodY protein does not bind to these genes, allowing C. difficile to make the toxins needed to attack intestinal cells.

Knowing what turns on, and more importantly, what turns off the toxin-producing genes in C. difficile opens the door for treatment and prevention options. It is possible that, based on our findings, a new drug could be developed that would trick CodY into thinking there is enough fuel for the bacteria, causing CodY to remain bound to the toxin gene region and thus suppressing toxin production.


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Contact: Siobhan Gallagher
Siobhan.Gallagher@tufts.edu
617-636-6586
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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