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Viruses In Mucus Protect From Infection 75

ananyo writes "Researchers have discovered that animal mucus — ' whether from humans, fish or corals' — is loaded with bacteria-killing viruses called phages. These protect their hosts from infection by destroying incoming bacteria. In return, the phages are exposed to a steady torrent of microbes in which to reproduce. Mucus mainly consists of huge molecular complexes called mucins, which are made up of thousands of glycan sugars attached to a central protein backbone. The team showed that phages stick to these sugars, reducing the number of bacteria that can attach to mucus by more than 10,000 times."
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Viruses In Mucus Protect From Infection

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  • Re:Old knowledge (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) * on Monday May 20, 2013 @06:54PM (#43777251)

    Well, that does give some meaning to the phrase "to lick ones wounds".

    Not new meaning, just new understanding. Saliva was already well known to have anti-bacterial properties. That is why animals lick their wounds. This just helps us better understand the mechanism. One theory that I have heard is that when a wound is licked, the wounded animal ingests the infecting bacteria, and develops antibodies which prevent the infection from spreading. This is similar to one reason that mother animals lick their babies: they ingest any bacteria on their young, and develop antibodies in their milk which are passed to their young when they nurse. This research shows one more reason that licking both your wounds and your young is a good idea.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 20, 2013 @10:21PM (#43778269)

    I hope you are aware that those are *viral* infections!
    The article describes how the phages *in mucus* protect you from *bacteria*!

    Our outer perimeter (skin) is great at protecting us against *bacteria* (and particles and chemicals in general). But it does a shitty job against the high-tech *viruses* (or parasites).

    For the viruses, we have the *immune system* with the spleen (barracks of the standing army), the lymphatic system (highways) and the tonsils (gate guardians).

    But they can only do their job, if you *move your body*, since the lymphatic vessels don't have a pump like the blood vessels.
    Our whole body is from ground up designed for a lifestyle that includes a lot of walking. Immune system, digestion, activity level, you name it: They all depend on you moving your ass.

    So how about doing that instead of deluding yourself that the use of some pill will keep you healthy, when the only actual reason that's the case is that you dwell in your basement all week long.
    Which also is the reason for your grumpiness by the way.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan