Bacteria, through evolution, have developed a multitude of defense systems capable of shielding themselves from the viruses known as bacteriophages. Many of these defense systems are already in use in the form of biotechnological tools. For instance, it helped develop gene-editing wherein small changes occur with the help of DNA.
A research team hopes to further exploit the newly characterized defense systems present within bacteria by comparing the changes with the human genome. The study is highly relevant for developing medicines and treatments as the team is also set to demonstrate the complex workings of bacteria's inherent immune system.
In the study, researchers showcased two defense systems that worked complementary to each other to protect the bacteria from bacteriophages. The first system provided protection from bacteriophages having modifications to their DNA as some bacteriophages can modify their DNA to dodge the first defense system. The second system, referred to as BrxU, protected bacteria against those bacteriophages that had altered DNA, thus building a second layer of defense.
The team successfully built an extremely detailed 3-D (Three Dimensional) picture of BrxU to enhance their understanding of how the defense system safeguards the bacteria against bacteriophages having modified DNA.
BrxU could be one of the potential biotechnological tools that are potent against bacteriophages. This is because the identical DNA changes that BrxU identifies are found across the human genome and changes in cancer and neurological illnesses highly impact the chances of recovery for individuals suffering from these diseases. Suppose the team is able to develop the ability to recognize modified DNA. In that case, protection against them could be provided to humans as similar ones are found within the human genome.
The extra layer of information known as 'epigenome' alters as individuals grow. Further, it also changes when one is suffering from cancer or neurogenerative diseases. BrxU's abilities need to be developed as biotechnological tools for mapping the epigenome soon. So, it could successfully enhance the researcher's understanding of the adaptive information that controls growth and disease progression within patients.
The study is incredible, and once researchers delve deeper into the mechanism of BrxU, a tool for better treating cancer and other hazardous diseases could be developed. This would ensure better treatment for the patients and increase the quality of life while reducing the risk factors associated with the disease.
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