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Taming the anthrax threat
Date:9/2/2007

ral pathways and functions that helped the microbe survive and thrive, which could be targets for future drugs.

Among a large number of genes shown to be highly active, the scientists picked one to study further, a previously uncharacterized gene in the MarR family that possibly regulates transcription. When they infected mouse cells with a Bacillus anthracis strain altered to lack the gene, they found the bacteria were significantly less able to cause disease. The next step will be to screen compounds that could potentially block the action of this gene and other genes identified in the study.

A new generation of anthrax drugs is needed because antibiotics given now to people exposed to anthrax spores, though they work, cause serious gastrointestinal effects during the 60 days people need to take them. Many people do not complete the full course of treatment. An improved drug would knock out the anthrax microbe but leave the normal good bacteria in the gut alone. As a first step, U-M scientists plan to screen compounds to find ones able to block specific processes they have identified in the anthrax microbe.


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Contact: Anne Rueter
arueter@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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