Bacteria are increasingly resistant to antibiotics. A research team from the De Duve Institute at UCLouvain has discovered the role played in bacterial resistance by a protein with a membrane shaped like “soft spaghetti”. This fundamental research discovery offers long-term prospects for public health.
Professor Jean-François Collet’s research team has long been studying the defense mechanisms of bacteria. A few years ago, they had the attention drawn to a protein with a particular shape: it has a deconstructed membrane, unexplored until now. Member of the team, doctoral student Jessica El Rayes, took an interest in it and her research revealed that this segment, “similar to a soft spaghetti”, allows the protein to be transported to the surrounding wall of the bacteria. , helping to strengthen the resistance of the latter. The researcher also discovered that the bacteria was weakened and weakened after an external intervention carried out on the segment.
In the current context of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and the resurgence of bacterial infections, which pose a serious public health problem, this discovery therefore offers long-term prospects in the development of more effective antibiotics.
►Reportage of Sabine Ringelheim, Beatrice Broutout and Laurence Paciarelli