Force matters in hospital-acquired infections

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Science  30 Mar 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6383, pp. 1464-1465
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat3764

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Bacterial pathogens show a remarkable capacity to stick to host tissues and implanted biomaterials, grow, and form biofilms on these surfaces (1). These multicellular communities protect the bacteria from the host immune system and from drugs, thereby causing infections that are difficult to eradicate. Today, biofilms are estimated to be involved in half of all infections acquired in hospitals. On page 1527 of this issue, Milles et al. (2) combine single-molecule experiments and molecular dynamics simulations to study the forces involved in the adhesion of bacterial pathogens to host proteins, the first step of biofilm formation.