At a depth of more than 3000 m near the Phoenix Islands in the central part of the Pacific Ocean, bacteria were found that the innate human immunity simply does not see – these two species are so alien to each other. A group of biologists from Boston University and Harvard Medical School, which worked together with the crew of a scientific vessel from the Schmidt Ocean Institute, writes about this in the journal Science Immunology.
Scientists write about representatives of the genus Moritella from the class of gram-negative marine gamma-proteobacteria.
The outer coating of bacteria consists of a lipopolysaccharide (LPS) film: other organisms recognize microbes by certain ligands (molecular sites) of these substances. But the LPS receptors in the cell culture of humans, mice and crab could not “detect” 80% of the bacteria raised from the depths.
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This discovery undermines the generally accepted belief that our immunity is practically universal, that is, it can recognize any microorganisms that it encounters, including from the environment that humans never encounter.
The authors write that no one really tested the universality of this rule, and for the deep-sea bacteria they discovered, “people are Martians, and vice versa.”
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They believe the discovery could spur the development of new bio-tools and therapies. For example, use invisible bacteria for targeted drug delivery to organs or immune therapy.
Gamma-proteobacteria include an extremely large number of pathogens, such as Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Plague bacillus, the causative agent of typhoid fever and Vibrio cholerae.