Washington: Scientists claim tobe uncovering the secrets of one of nature`s most primitiveimmune systems through studying how bacteria incorporateforeign DNA from invading viruses into their own regulatory. A team at Texas A&M University, led by Thomas Wood,has shed light on how bacteria have throughout the course ofmillions of years developed resistance to antibiotics by co-opting the DNA of their natural enemies -- viruses.
With this new diverse blend of genetic material, abacterium not only overcomes the virus` lethal intentions butalso flourishes at a greater rate than similar bacteria thathave not incorporated viral DNA, say the scientists. "Over millions of years, this virus becomes anormal part of the bacterium. It brings in new tricks, newgenes, new proteins, new enzymes, new things that it can do.The bacterium learns how to do things from this. "What we have found is that with this newviral DNA that has been trapped over millions of years in thechromosome, the cell has created a new immune system. "It has developed new proteins that have enabled itto resists antibiotics and other harmful things that attemptto oxidise cells, such as hydrogen peroxide. These cells thathave the new viral set of tricks don`t die or don`t die asrapidly," Wood said. PTI
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