Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genome-wide analysis provides detailed understanding of flesh-eating bacteria epidemics

27.07.2004


New research using nearly a dozen different genomic testing procedures has revealed unprecedented detail about the molecular characteristics and virulence of group A streptococcus (GAS), the "flesh-eating" bacteria, according to scientists at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), part of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health.



The study, conducted by an international team led by RML scientist James M. Musser, M.D., Ph.D., will appear in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online sometime this week.

"This work indicates that using extensive genome-wide molecular analyses is an important new strategy for understanding how and why pathogens emerge," notes NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "What’s more, the method can be applied to other bacterial and viral pathogens by adjusting the techniques and strategies."


Previous studies, Dr. Musser says, substantially underestimated genetic diversity in bacteria because these studies neither employed the array of molecular techniques they did nor analyzed a comprehensive database of patient samples.

"Before the advent of genome sequencing and genome-wide analysis methods, our knowledge of molecular characteristics of pathogenic bacterial infections in distinct populations was extremely limited," says Dr. Musser.

In the new study, the RML team identified previously unknown genetic distinctions in M3 strains of GAS, revealing why only some strains rapidly expand to cause epidemics. All GAS strains can cause serious infections, Dr. Musser says, but the M3 strains are unusually virulent.

Dr. Musser explains that shortly after 2002, when he and his colleague Stephen Beres, Ph.D., at RML completed a genome sequence of the serotype M3 GAS, they turned their attention to using the new information to molecularly dissect two epidemics of life-threatening GAS infections, or necrotizing fasciitis--the "flesh-eating" syndrome. The study involved analyzing hundreds of patient cultures obtained over 11 years from Ontario, Canada, in epidemiologic studies conducted by Donald Low, M.D., and Allison McGeer, M.D., of the Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

"We proposed an extensive collaboration that would mesh the RML GAS genomic analysis information with the Ontario patient samples and epidemiologic information to provide new understanding of these two GAS epidemics," Dr. Musser says. The Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, with which Dr. Musser is also affiliated, also contributed to the project.

Dr. Musser’s team analyzed a comprehensive sample of GAS cultures collected from patients between 1992 and 2002. Using the new genetic tools, the team discovered previously unknown genetic shifting and the evolution of new M3 strains, particularly in the peak epidemic years of 1995 and 2000. For the first time, scientists were able to unravel, on a genome-wide basis, the complex molecular events underpinning the emergence of new epidemic waves of bacterial infection.

The discoveries should help scientists develop better ways to control GAS infection, including vaccine development and new therapies. GAS infections can range from mild skin infection or strep throat to invasive, life-threatening conditions such as toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis. Strep throat, along with minor skin infections, are the most common forms of the disease.

Experts estimate that more than 10 million GAS infections occur every year in the United States. In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9,000 cases of severe GAS disease were reported in 2002.

Ken Pekoc | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niaid.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>