During analysis of its genome sequence, the team from the Biology of Intracellular Bacteria Unit (Institut Pasteur/CNRS), headed by Carmen Buchrieser, identified genes coding for proteins that were predicted to be involved in the infection of human cells. These proteins resemble proteins of higher organisms (eukaryotes), including humans, and can modify the physiology of the infected host cells. They are thus potential virulence factors. In this study, published in the journal PNAS, the researchers show that one of these proteins is secreted in the human cell and helps to block the antibacterial response of the infected cells.
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