Cow gene could provide clues for treating infections
17 May, 2006
New antibiotics effective against drug-resistant bacteria could be the result of research into salivary proteins produced by the BSP30 gene family in cattle.
The BSP30 genes, which express anti-bacterial proteins, are thought to be equivalent to the PSP gene in humans — a gene believed to help protect against infections in the mouth and throat.
The PSP gene has been duplicated eight times in cattle. Four of the cattle duplications have resulted in intact new genes. Other mammals, including humans, do not have these duplications. This may be because we don’t eat grass, so don’t require them.
“The human stomach is very acid, which is likely to kill bugs,” AgResearch Principal Scientist John McEwan says. “In comparison, the rumen is not as acid as it doesn’t want to kill the bugs that break down cellulose, but still has to get rid of the other nasties. For this reason we think the genes in ruminants may have interesting characteristics.”
- 14 November 2007