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Virginia Tech researcher discovers cellular cause of Lyme arthritis that could open door to cure

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Category: research Video duration: Virginia Tech researcher discovers cellular cause of Lyme arthritis that could open door to cure
Brandon Jutras, an assistant professor of Biochemistry, discovered the cellular culprit that causes Lyme arthritis, a debilitating and extremely painful condition that impacts more than half of people who have been infected with tick-borne Lyme disease.
[00:00:00] >> They are either processing the peptidoglycan so that it gets broken down. Name's Brandon Jutras, I'm assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry here at Virginia Tech, and I'm also affiliated with the Fralin Life Sciences Institute and the Molecular and Cellular Biology program. They have two. I have a couple graduate students and several undergraduate students, the lab studies the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi. [00:00:24] So Lyme disease is simply a bacterial infection. Bacteria that causes Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks and when the ticks are feeding on on a human or on any other type of host, they're transmitting that bacteria. The general public is becoming more aware about the disease, basically instead of ignoring a tick bite, people are now paying attention to that and more doctors are now educated in their ability to diagnose and test for Lyme disease. [00:00:49] After you get bit by a tick, you go through some kind of general flu-like symptoms and if you're not treated promptly and correctly you can go on to have some kind of these late-stage complications of Lyme disease. So Lyme arthritis is one of those, we've been very interested in this molecule that the bacteria, and virtually all bacteria have, it's called Peptidoglycan. [00:01:08] So it's a component of the bacterial cell wall, it's just a big molecular bag and it just protects the inside contents of the bacteria, we think that our most recent work has found that this bacteria molecule Peptidoglycan is basically causing an inappropriate inflammatory response that is really driving Lyme arthritis. [00:01:27] And so patients that have Lyme arthritis we can actually detect that molecule and specifically in their Synovial fluid, so in their knee joints. We can prevent, say, DNA replication from happening, well then we would kill bacteria. And since these processes are specific to the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, that then becomes a novel way to treat the disease.