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Scientists hope to fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria by targeting their ‘alarm proteins’

For years, antibiotic-resistant infections have been the bane of modern health care. Now, researchers have found a new way to attack some types of these nearly unstoppable microbes, Wired reports. In a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers identified a special alarm protein in resistant strains that alerts the bacterial cells when there’s a new antibiotic threat, prompting them to rearrange the components of their cell membranes to confuse their attacker. The researchers hope that by designing treatments to target this protein, they can hijack the cells’ communication system. This won’t kill the microbes, the researchers say, but it will leave them susceptible to antibiotics once again.

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