Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), have discovered how Streptococcus pyogenes (S. pyogenes), the bacterium responsible for "flesh-eating" infections, gains a foothold in the body by subverting a key immune system cell.
"The ability of this very common bug, which causes strep throat and other infections, to modulate the gene activity of an immune system cell is remarkable and has never before been seen on this scale," says Frank R. DeLeo, Ph.D., a researcher at NIAIDs Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, MT. The findings are scheduled to be published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA this week.
Insight into streptococcal infection is one product of a comprehensive picture of immune cell–bacteria interactions developed by the RML scientists. Using microarray technology, Dr. DeLeo and his colleagues created a "snapshot" of how all the genes in a type of white blood cell, called a neutrophil, react following exposure to a variety of bacteria.
Anne A. Oplinger | EurekAlert!
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