Viruses in the gut protect from infection

“Mucus is everywhere,” says microbiologist Jeremy Barr. Almost every animal uses it to make a barrier that protects tissues that are exposed to the environment, such as the gut or lungs. Now, Barr and a team of researchers have discovered that mucus is also the key to an ancient partnership between animals and viruses.

Viruses known as bacteriophages, seen here attacking an E. coli (in a coloured scanning electron micrograph), abound in the mucus of organisms across the animal kingdom, where they help keep bacteria in check.

JUERGEN BERGER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

via Viruses in the gut protect from infection : Nature News & Comment.

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