Research from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine to study an isolated agent from common oral bacteria may hold the answer as to how human beta defensins (HBDs)nature's way of keeping oral microbes from entering the body and wreaking havoc with our healthcan be used to create new treatments to block bacteria from entering through the epithelial linings on and in the body.
Aaron Weinberg, professor and chair of the department of biological sciences at the Dental School, will lead the research group on a five-year, $2.25 million National Institutes of Health-funded project.
The new grant, Weinberg said, will continue the exploration of their discovery last year of an agent called Fusobacterium nucleatum-associated Beta-Defensin Inducer (FAD-I).
This agent triggers the expression and release of the HBD peptides from epithelial cells that make up the mucosal linings of the body, such as skin, the respiratory track and the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracks.
Weinberg and his research group reported FAD-I's discovery in the Journal of Biological Chemistry article, "Fusobacterium nucleatum-Associated Beta-Defensin Inducer (FAD-I)." The researchers described the identification, isolation and functions of FAD-I.
The new grant that continues FAD-I research has several foci: (1) isolating which strains of F. nucleatum bacteria have more potent FAD-I activity and why, (2) continued research to understand more about the biology and structure of FAD-I, and (3) using a mouse model to see how effective it is as a potential treatment.
In addition, the researchers are particularly interested in why FAD-I sets defensins to work without triggering inflammation, which can be a health risk if the inflammation is not abated by the normal defense system. In the mouth, it can cause gum disease and eventual tooth loss.
"It started with our observation that when the bacterium comes in c
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Case Western Reserve University