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Novel way to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Narrator:       This is Science Today.  Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have discovered a novel way to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria by using the bacteria's own genes. Matt Coleman, a senior scientist with the Livermore Lab, explains how a gene that encodes for a protein that is able to digest bacterial cell walls, may open the door to a number of new, specifically-targeted antibiotic treatments.

Coleman:       Every bacterial cell with a wall required this internal protein, probably so it can divide, we decided to go ahead and clone that protein and when we added that protein back to the bacteria, we suddenly realized that it was very effective in real-time killing the bacteria. Once we discovered that cells had their own endogenous copy of this potential protein, our idea was that we could turn that protein on itself. We could turn it on the bacterium itself and make it lethal.  When we over-express it, that's when it becomes deadly.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.