Research highlight

Bacterial gangs cause clots

Nature Chemical Biology

November 3, 2008

Scientists have discovered a new way that blood clots can form, which could lead to new methods for treating serious health problems such as bacterial infections and sepsis.

Bacterial infections and blood clotting often occur at the same time, but it was thought that the clotting was caused by the host response to the bacteria, rather than by the bacteria itself.

Online in Nature Chemical Biology, Rustem Ismagilov and colleagues demonstrate that bacteria can directly initiate the blood clot causing process, known as coagulation, if they are present in a high local density. Considering the location of bacterial cells, instead of just their presence or absence, could therefore significantly change our understanding of coagulation.

doi: 10.1038/nchembio.124

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