Bacteria's Mucus Maneuvers: Study Reveals How Snot Facilitates Infection
Published:03 Jan.2024    Source:Penn State
Sniffles, snorts and blows of runny noses are the hallmarks of cold and flu season -- and that increase in mucus is exactly what bacteria use to mount a coordinated attack on the immune system, according to a new study from researchers at Penn State. The team found that the thicker the mucus, the better the bacteria are able to swarm. The findings could have implications for treatments that reduce the ability of bacteria to spread.
The study, recently published in the journal PNAS Nexus, demonstrates how bacteria use mucus to enhance their ability to self-organize and possibly drive infection.

The experiments, performed using synthetic pig stomach mucus, natural cow cervical mucus and a water-soluble polymer compound called polyvidone, revealed that bacteria coordinate movement better in thick mucus than in watery substances. The findings provide insight into how bacteria colonize mucus and mucosal surfaces, researchers said.< style="display:none" href="">