A Virus That Steals A Bacterium’s Immune System And Uses It As A Weapon
Sometimes, I read a news item that pretty much overturns an entire class of pedagogy in my head.
Take, for example, the discovery that virus particles steal and repurpose a bacteria’s immune system, and use it against them. My first thought was “holy crap, bacteria have an adaptive immune system?!” Then I remembered reading something about that from a couple of years ago (which I clearly promptly forgot, because I don’t actually follow that particular field very closely). My second thought was “of course viruses would exploit that — those bastards exploit every loophole that mutagenesis and genetic theft have to offer.”
The phenomenon, which was published in Nature this week, was discovered by Kimberly Seed and colleagues when they looked at bacteriophages who usually infect and kill the bacterium responsible for cholera Vibrio cholerae.