What is it about?

The immune system kills invading bacteria with many different chemicals. One of these is called hypothiocyanite, and is abundant in saliva and the lungs. Hypothiocyanite kills bacteria, but is harmless to human cells. We have now discovered an enzyme in some bacteria called RclA that breaks down hypothiocyanite, protecting them from killing by this compound.

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Why is it important?

Many disease-causing bacteria have versions of RclA, so understanding how they resist killing by hypothiocyanite leads us to a better understanding of how they are able to survive attack by our immune systems. Ultimately, it may open up new avenues for sensitizing those bacteria and treating diseases in new ways.

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This page is a summary of: Escherichia coli RclA is a highly active hypothiocyanite reductase, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, July 2022, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2119368119.
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