Scientists in the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, have discovered that a protein secreted by the Chlamydia bug has a very unusual structure, e! Science News reports. This finding could lead to novel strategies in how we diagnose and treat Chlamydia.

The shape of the protein, Pgp3, is so distinguishable that it has already been dubbed ‘an Eiffel Tower of proteins’. “From a structural standpoint, the protein is very odd indeed,” said X-ray crystallographer P. John Hart, Ph.D. “This long and slender molecule contains a fusion of structural motifs that resemble those typically found in viral and not bacterial proteins.”

So what does this all mean? Whilst the laboratory has been studying protein Pgp3 for years, it is only through uncovering the structural information that the scientists can test their many hypotheses on what roles it plays in Chlamydial pathogenesis (disease development). It is currently believed it could play a key role initially in infecting its human host, then subsequently in evading the defences of the host. The previous studies that took place on another Chlamydial protein – CPAF – lead to a great many developments in our understanding of Chlamydia.

Whilst this progress is fantastic news, the benefits may not be seen for years. So, in the meantime, prevention of infection is the best method for controlling Chlamydia. Using protection such as condoms, especially with new or several sexual partners, is always important and can stop you from contracting the disease. However regular testing should also be practised, and if you need results quickly (two days from when the sample is received at the laboratory) and confidentially, Better2Know have clinics across the UK.

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