Scientists studying the body’s natural defenses against bacterial infection have identified a nutrient—taurine—that helps the gut recall prior infections and kill invading bacteria, such as Klebsiella pneumoniae (Kpn). The finding, published in the journal Cell by scientists from five institutes of the National Institutes of Health, could aid efforts seeking alternatives to antibiotics.
Scientists know that microbiota—the trillions of beneficial microbes living harmoniously inside our gut—can protect people from bacterial infections, but little is known about how they provide protection. Scientists are studying the microbiota with an eye to finding or enhancing natural treatments to replace antibiotics, which harm microbiota and become less effective as bacteria develop drug resistance.
The scientists observed that microbiota that had experienced prior infection and transferred to germ-free mice helped prevent infection with Kpn. They identified a class of bacteria—Deltaproteobacteria—involved in fighting these infections, and further analysis led them to identify taurine as the trigger for Deltaproteobacteria activity….
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