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Microbiology

Sabotaging flagella of bacteria to halt infections

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By BS Media
Published: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
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Sabotaging flagella of bacteria to halt infections | Source: Digital media by Tim Sandle
Sabotaging flagella of bacteria to halt infections | Source: Digital media by Tim Sandle
Some bacteria have the ability to ‘swim’ in a controlled fashion through the use of appendages called flagella. Researchers think that disabling these flagella is a key step towards infection control.

Motile bacteria move through the function of flagella. These appendages rotate, which propels an organism forwards. This is a little like the propellers on a boat. Some bacteria have one flagellum, others have many, and some possess none at all. Some of the bacteria regarded as human pathogens have flagella. An example of a flagellate bacterium is the ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori, which uses multiple flagella to propel itself through the mucus lining to reach the stomach epithelium. Some flagella also serve a function in environmental detection, sensing different conditions and signalling to a bacterium to move to or away from a given niche.

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Sabotaging flagella of bacteria to halt infections
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