Bacteria used to make a molecular ‘super glue’
2013-04-16 0:00

By Tim Sandle | DigitalJournal

Scientists have created a molecular super-glue using bacterial proteins. The glue was apparently so strong that it broke the instrument used to measure the strength of the glue.

The reason for creating the bacterial super-glue was to find new ways to lock proteins together. This is to find better diagnostic tests for things like cancer cells circulating in the blood. In particular, the development has the potential to detect circulating tumor cells. If those cells can be "caught" by being glued to a detection protein, then it makes it easier to pick up cancer earlier on, according to Wired Science.

The glue was created, as the research brief outlines, from glue from a protein called FbaB. It was taken from the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes (the so-called ‘flesh eating’ bacterium which causes necrotizing fasciitis). The function of the protein is to help bacteria infect cells.

The gluing action occurs when two parts of the protein meet (the researcher dubbed these two parts SpyTag and SpyCatcher). The ‘super glue’ created appears to be a very powerful material. It resists high and low temperatures, acids and other harsh conditions and seals quickly.


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