Researchers may have figured out how a disease-causing bacteria crosses the placenta from mother to baby. Their work, described in Nature, is important because infection with Listeria monocytogenes can result in miscarriage and sometimes stillbirth.
Using two new animal models, Marc Lecuit and colleagues show that two bacterial invasion proteins, InlA and InlB, are required for L. monocytogenes to target and cross the placental barrier. Understanding how the microbe is able to cross the host's natural barrier could help in the development of inhibitory molecules for use as preventative therapies.
Marc Lecuit (Institut Pasteur, Paris, France)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature press release.
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