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File:Ulcer-causing Bacterium (H.Pylori) Crossing Mucus Layer of Stomach.jpg


English: A team of researchers from Boston University, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown 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.Contact with stomach acid keeps the mucin lining the epithelial cell layer in a spongy gel-like state. This consistency is impermeable to the bacterium Heliobacter pylori. However, the bacterium releases urease which neutralizes the stomach acid. This causes the mucin to liquefy, and the bacterium can swim right through it.

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Illustration Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation

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Date 11 August 2009, 04:50:40
Source NSF Flickr photostream,
Author Illustration Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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