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Researchers uncover key process in gonorrhea infection

Category: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Positive STD tests for gonorrhea are extremely common. What's worse is that the bacteria are increasingly growing resistant to antibiotics. However, a team of researchers may have identified a biological pathway that plays a critical role to the ability of the microbes to infect the human body.

Researchers from Boston University found that a single protein found in the body controls the expression of multiple genes within the bacteria that cause gonorrhea infections. When this protein upregulates certain genes, the body's immune system is able to identify the bacteria and destroy. However, genes downregulated by the protein help make the bacteria invisible to the immune system.

The team said that it may be possible to develop medications that cause the protein to upregulate these genes in the bacteria, making the immune system more capable of fighting the infection.

The findings come at an important point in the battle against gonorrhea infection. Scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that they are seeing more strains of the bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics, prompting concerns over infections that cannot be treated as normal.

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