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Wild and weird world of fluoride channels: Researchers discover how microbes survive the ubiquitous toxic ion

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Posted September 20, 2013

It’s not just in toothpaste and mouthwash—fluoride is found in just about everything from rocks and water to the soil and the sea. It is the 13th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, and it’s extremely toxic to single-celled organisms such as bacteria and yeasts. 

 

Yet these organisms survive and even flourish in fluoride-rich environments. How?

Brandeis University scientists have an answer that may have implications for the treatment of bacterial diseases such as tuberculosis.

In a paper published in August in the journal eLife, professor of biochemistry Christopher Miller reports microorganisms have evolved an unusual fluoride-specific ion channel to export toxic fluoride from the cell. Postdoctoral researchers Randy Stockbridge, Janice Robertson and Ludmila Kolmakova-Partensky contributed to the paper.

 

Read more at: Phys.org

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