These bacteria carry a special protein sequence, the so-called PARF motif, on their surface. In the renowned journal PLoS ONE Singh Chhatwal and his colleague Patric Nitsche-Schmitz of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig illustrate the role played by PARF in the development of rheumatic heart disease. With this knowledge they are developing a test system that is able to recognise and prevent the disease at an early stage.
"PARF means 'peptide associated with rheumatic fever'," explains Nitsche-Schmitz. "It is a small section from a bacterial surface protein , which is used by the streptococcus to adhere to our cells and cause disease." Rheumatic fever develops from harmless sore throats amongst children in India, Australia and Africa in particular. The reason: inadequate medical treatment: if children with a streptococcus infection in the throat receive no or inadequate antibiotic treatment, then the surviving bacteria with the PARF sequence on their surface will adhere to their collagen.
Collagen is present throughout the body – as a major component of bone and cartillage it determines shape and structure of our body and it strengthens the connective tissue of the skin, the heart valves and blood vessels with its high resistance to tensile forces. Adhesion of PARF-bearing streptococci to collagenconfuses our immune system and our body's defence system not only targets the bacteria, but also healthy and vital collagen. The auto-immune disease rheumatic fever breaks out. If this in turn also fails to be treated correctly, the consequence is rheumatic heart disease: the heart valves, rich in collagen, become inflamed and cease to function.
Overall, only around five percent of all throat infections with streptococci result in an auto-immune disease. In order to filter out these five percent and treat them at an early stage, the Braunschweig infection researchers are developing a simple test strip that reacts to the PARF motif. "We hope that this will soon give us a test system that we can use for examination of children on a routine basis," says Singh Chhatwal: "This would save the lives of a lot of children."
Dr. Bastian Dornbach | EurekAlert!
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences