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!
A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital
Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy