New Protein Found in Freshwater Animal Offers Hope Against Bacterial Strains
Respect cannot be earned until it is first understood. This is true on playgrounds and in ceasefires and in the many more invisible confrontations that often govern the turning of the world.
We have come to respect the more virulent strains of bacteria that have found amenable homes in hospitals worldwide – and this respect has spurred a global race to find additional biochemical sources to help combat these emerging and dangerous strains. Plant and animal species are being disassembled in this pursuit – as the threat of bacterial (and viral) pandemic has demonstrated that the microscopic clock moves considerably faster than our own.
Scientists at the University of Kiel have announced the discovery of a protein that has new bactericide potential. It was found in hydra, a freshwater animal that is most closely related to jellyfish, sea anemones, and coral. The hydra protein is both unusual and valuable clinically, as it is unique among other antibacterial proteins.
The protein identified in hydra shares traits with those found in scorpion venom and in the common leech – and while leeches have been used since ancient times to help in the practice of healing wounds, scorpions have generally been seen as an unwelcome cohabitant in our environment.
According to Northern State University, “hydra are easily maintained in a freshwater aquarium and do not need filtration or aeration systems.” They are adaptable animals, eating small crustaceans that are found in abundant numbers in lakes and in rivers and switching to molecular dietary absorption through their ectoderm when crustacean populations are scarce.
They are adaptable animals – and given the hydra’s flexibility, scientists can replicate the just-uncovered antibacterial protein readily.
The University of Kiel researchers have named the protein hydramacin-1 and have found that it adheres to the surface of bacteria. The adherence destroys the bacterial membrane, and the bacteria cannot replicate. The researchers experiments additionally determined that hydramacin-1 kills a wide variety of bacteria – in both the gram-positive and gram-negative families.
The broad scope of hydramacin-1’s destructive capabilities allows for more confidence – guarded as it is – when confronting the more insidious bacterial populations that are found in the most sterile environments.
Tags: Bacteria , Antibiotics , Hydra , Health , Science , Leech , Research
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