Bacteriophage – Natural bacteria enemy in fight against diseases
However, it took several decades of excessive, inappropriate use of antibiotics for the emergence of bacteria resistant to most or even all of these drugs. This problem has again drawn attention to bacteriophages.
One of the main directions of research is to find a therapy that is effective against Pseudomonas infections. Which very often cause pneumonia, sepsis, urinary tract infections and postoperative wound infections in patients with a weakened immune system. In research aimed at developing an alternative to antibiotics, it turned out that a mixture of several phages is definitely more effective than a single virus infecting Pseudomonas cells.
Meanwhile, Dr. Sorek proved that viruses actively “discuss” their strategy. When a bacteriophage enters a bacterium, it can cause the release of a protein molecule of just six amino acids. This is a message for other viruses. The more bacteria attacked, the more protein and the “louder” the signal that there are fewer and fewer free bacterial cells. Phages then stop the multiplication process and go into a dormant phase. Because the virus that multiplies leads to the disintegration of the bacterial cell, and the daughter virions are released into the environment. It is when the host is scarce that the virus stops infecting and saves.
The protein that changes the phage strategy is called arbitrium, and as its discoverer himself admits, it is a major revolution in virology. Research has been launched to search for arbitrium in the environment. It is already known that this protein is produced by at least a dozen other phages. Each of them probably “speaks” in their own language, so the conversation can only take place among the closest relatives.
This is a great chance for an effective fight against pathogens. Prof. Bassler – using biotechnology methods – created phages that can eavesdrop on Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium, which are dangerous to health. This is the first step in obtaining programmed killers of any chosen species of microbe. Dr. Sorek, on the other hand, has a different idea: If we could use genetic engineering to introduce the arbitium-producing system into human viruses. Such as HIV or the herpes virus, which can last hidden in cells for many years. It is the sleep-inducing molecule that would become a new therapy for these diseases. Despite decades of research into antiviral drugs, we still have very little.