Bacteria nabbed by sweet exterior


EACH type of bacterium has a unique sugary coating, but this superficial sweetness carries a bitter message for any organism it infects. Now the offending sugars can be rapidly identified by a “fingerprinting” test. The coating consists of more than 100 different sugars, known as surface glycans, which the bacterium can mask or display depending on whether it is invading a cell, dodging the immune system or communicating with other cells. Knowing which glycans are displayed and when could lead to ways of blocking and diagnosing infections,
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