Meningococci are life-threatening bacteria responsible for causing diseases like meningitis (an infection of the thin lining that protects the brain and spinal cord) and sepsis (a dangerous condition that occurs when the antibodies released in the blood to combat an infection, start causing inflammation in the entire body). Also Read - Viruses most common cause of meningitis: Study
These bacteria use a very small human protein called RNA-binding protein ProQ, to cause big impact, says a recent research published in the journal Nature. RNA is a polymeric molecule that’s significant for various biological processes including expression of genes, coding, decoding, and regulation. Also Read - Italian pensioner admitted to hospital with meningitis
The most surprising this about this study is that it states, the ProQ protein actually help in repairing the DNA of these pathogens and makes them resistant to oxidative stress. It works by interacting with 200 different types of RNA in the meningococci bacteria and binds with the structured regions of them. This is how the protein helps in stabilising its binding partners. Also Read - Pioneering nose drop could prevent meningitis
Scientists are surprised by the fact that a small protein with just 120 amino acids can have such a great impact on the gene regulation of bacteria. Notably, various other proteins have several hundred amino acids. Researchers will conduct further studies to find the new targets for antibacterial agents and weaken the pathogens.