No matter how disgusting it is to realize we are all filled with mucus. Every day our body produces about a liter of viscous liquid that covers the walls of the entire gastrointestinal tract and other areas of our body. The main function of mucus in the human body is protected against mechanical damage and penetration of dangerous bacteria. However, as reported by scientists from the us state of Massachusetts, produced by the body slime not only inhibits bacteria — it literally controls their behavior.
The mucus, which covers about 200 square meters of walls of different parts of our body, consists of two important components. First, part of the mucus are the so-called glycans — molecules with a rather large branching structure. Second, the composition of the viscous fluid is composed of proteins called Mucins. Joined together, they form a complex structure which the author of a new study of Katharina Ribbeck, comparing it to brushes to clean the bottles.
Why the slime?
Katharina ribbeck of studying the human mucus for over a decade. She believes that the mucus is too little studied component of our body despite the fact that it covers a large part of our body. She already knew that getting into the mucus, many germs almost lose mobility and become an easy target for the immune system. However, during one of the experiments, the mucus was opened, and other interesting abilities.
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The researchers put the human in the mucus samples of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pseudomonas aeruginosa). Mostly they are not for people in danger, but with a weakened immune system they can cause infection by various infections. During observations, the researchers found that the viscous liquid is not only slowed down the bacteria, but deprived of certain possibilities.
First, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ceased to excrete toxic substances, that is, become significantly safer. Second, the bacteria were not trying to destroy epithelial cells of the person. Third, the organisms lost the ability to communicate with each other, so they are unable to form a biofilm. And the formation of bacterial clusters, among other things, can cause many serious diseases.
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In the future, the researchers led by Professor Katharina ribbeck of plan to study the effects of mucus on the so-called streptococci. They are parasites of humans and animals and breed in the respiratory and digestive tracts. When the reproduction can be such terrible diseases as pharyngitis, bronchitis and pneumonia. In further work, scientists also hope to learn what kind of bacterial receptors act contained in the mucus glycans and Mucins. Perhaps this knowledge will help them to develop new drugs for the huge number of caused by bacteria diseases.