Two unconventional, bacteria-precise antibiotics may offer a means to gain an upper hand against Clostridium Difficile (C. diff) infection (CDI), according to findings from researchers at Penn State Hershey Colon and Rectal Surgery. In vitro investigations of phage tail-like proteins (PTLPs) have shown promising capacity to specifically eradicate C. diff, while C. diff-specific anti-sense DNA morpholinos prevent C. diff expression of toxins and transformation into active infection. Both approaches appear to leave other types of gastrointestinal bacteria unharmed.
David Stewart, M.D., associate professor of surgery, Penn State Colon and Rectal Surgery, explains, “Some strains of C. diff produce PTLPs, which are morphologically similar to bacteriophages, but lack genetic material. Other C. diff strains are susceptible to their PTLP bactericidal action. When these PTLPs bind to a bacterial surface receptor, the ‘tail’ portion inserts itself into the bacterial cell membrane, creating a hole that rapidly leads to cell death.” (Figure) Continue reading