JAN 31, 2016 02:42 PM PST

Putting a Stop to Group A Streptococcus

WRITTEN BY: Kerry Evans
2 16 2354
Researchers at the University of Notre Dame identified the mechanism by which Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as Group A Streptococcus (GAS), destroys red blood cells.

GAS infects nearly 700 million people a year worldwide, and nearly half a million die from the infection. People are usually infected by skin-to-skin contact, with the the most common types of infection being strep throat, cellulitis, and impetigo.  More severe infections cause toxic shock syndrome and necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease!).
 
Group A Streptococcus infects nearly 700 million people annually.

Once you’re infected with GAS, the bacteria sometimes make it into the bloodstream where they can lyse red blood cells with a peptide called Streptolysin S (SLS).  This is great for the bacteria (who love snacking on red blood cells), but bad for you.  Lucky for you, however, we now understand how SLS lyses red blood cells, making it possible to treat this aspect of GAS infection.

According to study author Shaun Lee, “we demonstrate that the long-observed red blood cell hemolysis by SLS is not caused by general destruction of the red blood cell membrane, as has been previously thought, but rather that the action is due to the ability of the SLS toxin to directly target a specific outer membrane protein on the surface of the red blood cell, the major erythrocyte anion exchange protein Band 3”.

The researchers also managed to block hemolysis by inhibiting the function of Band 3.  “By blocking the action of SLS toxin during a GAS infection, the pathology at the site of the infection could be drastically reduced”, says Lee, “these findings have tremendous potential for developing novel therapeutics to treat severe diseases caused by Group A Streptococcus”.
 

Sources: Science Daily, Wikipedia

 
 
About the Author
  • Kerry received a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
You May Also Like
MAY 09, 2018
Microbiology
MAY 09, 2018
What we can Learn From Viruses that Infect Bacteria
Phages are viruses that infect bacteria; scientists have found that the same phage can have a markedly different effect on different kinds of bacteria.
MAY 22, 2018
Technology
MAY 22, 2018
Tiniest House Ever Can Be Built on Strand of Hair
A French robotics team has built a micro-house to demonstrate their new nanotechnology prowess and a system called the μRobotex nanofactory.
JUL 04, 2018
Videos
JUL 04, 2018
How Did Viruses Originate?
There is still a debate about whether or not viruses are a form of life, and we really don't know where they came from.
JUL 07, 2018
Microbiology
JUL 07, 2018
A New Target for an Effective Gonorrhea Treatment
Many pathogens are becoming antibiotic resistant; the microbe that causes the STD gonorrhea is no different.
JUL 21, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
JUL 21, 2018
Designer Cells Sense & Destroy MRSA
Staphylococcus aureus is thought to lead to over 11 million visits to the doctor and the ER every year in the US alone.
AUG 08, 2018
Microbiology
AUG 08, 2018
Use of Probiotics Linked to Severe Bloating, Brain Fog
Gut bacteria can have a powerful effect on brain function.
Loading Comments...