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Unformatted text preview: NSF Web Site Press Release 09-149 Uncovering the Secrets of Ulcer-causing Bacteria Clever biochemical strategy enables bacteria to move freely and colonize host Heliobacter pylori liquefies stomach mucin to cross over to the epithelial cells. Credit and Larger Version August 11, 2009 View videos ( clip1 , clip2 ) showing how the bacterium that causes stomach ulcers alters its physical environment allowing it to colonize and attack cells. A team of researchers from Boston University, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently made a discovery that changes a long held paradigm about how bacteria move through soft gels. They showed that the bacterium that causes human stomach ulcers uses a clever biochemical strategy to alter the physical properties of its environment, allowing it to move and survive and further colonize its host. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports the findings in its most recent issue. Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that inhabits various areas of the stomach where it causes chronic, low-level inflammation and is linked to gastric ulcers and stomach cancer. In order to colonize the stomach, H. pylori must cope with highly acidic conditions in which other bacteria are unable to survive. It is well known however, that the bacterium accomplishes this by producing ammonia to neutralize the acid in its surroundings. In addition, newly published research shows it does somethingin its surroundings....
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- Spring '08