April 16 (HealthDay News) -- A protein called SopB enables salmonella bacteria to invade cells that line the intestine and hijack cellular functions to avoid destruction, Yale University researchers report.
Their finding offers new insight into how disease is caused by salmonella, which kills more than 2 million people a year.
"In evolutionary terms, this hijacking of cellular machinery to diversify the function of a bacterial protein is mind-boggling," study senior author Jorge Galan, chair of microbial pathogenesis at Yale, said in a university news release.
The study was published in the April 15 issue of Cell.
"These studies provide a unique insight into the mechanisms by which this important pathogen causes disease. In addition, this finding may point to a novel paradigm that may be applicable to other important pathogens," Galan said.
SOURCE: Yale University, news release, April 15, 2009