University of Alabama researchers have uncovered critical insights into bacterial immune systems. They discovered how a common skin bacteria wards off viruses by leveraging cellular processes normally not considered part of any immune system. A significant milestone in understanding how to harness bacterial viruses to combat antibiotic-resistant infections, the investigation was led by Dr. Asma Hatoum-Aslan and a graduate student. They found that an immune system in Staphylococcus bacteria UA researchers studied does not function on its own. Rather, it collaborates with other enzymes inside the cell to mount an effective defense against viral infection. The results were published in the journal eLife .