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Research shows how pathogenic bacteria hide inside host cells
Date:1/26/2011

eading to the formation of SCV colonies. This showed that SCVs began to appear following infection, after the immune system response was overcome and that this persistence led to a larger phenotypic diversity of bacteria.

"These studies demonstrate that S. aureus are extreme versatile microorganisms that continuously sense their environmental conditions and can rapidly alter to reflect them," said Lffler. "The formation of SCV colonies is a bacterial phenotype switching strategy which is an integral part of the infection process."

This process enables the bacteria to hide inside host cells without provoking an inflammatory response from the host's immune system. In addition, they might be efficiently protected from antibiotic treatment.

"This strategy means that SCVs can be considered as 'dormant forms' of infections which can rapidly regain their full virulence and cause a patient to relapse," concluded Lffler. "This has important clinical implications as it means that targeting phenotype switching could prevent the bacteria from hiding, making the infection more vulnerable to host response and treatment."


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