Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pneumococcus Genome Sequence Completed

Date:
July 20, 2001
Source:
University Of Illinois At Chicago
Summary:
A University of Illinois at Chicago biologist is part of a team that has successfully sequenced the complete genome of a virulent strain of pneumococcus. The discovery may prove useful in combating this often-deadly bacterium that has grown resistant in recent years to antibiotics such as penicillin.

A University of Illinois at Chicago biologist is part of a team that has successfully sequenced the complete genome of a virulent strain of pneumococcus. The discovery may prove useful in combating this often-deadly bacterium that has grown resistant in recent years to antibiotics such as penicillin. The accomplishment was reported in the July 20 issue of Science. Donald Morrison, UIC professor of biological sciences and a specialist in the study of pneumococcus, is a co-author who acted as an expert consultant in the sequencing work. The sequencing was performed by the Rockville, Md.-based Institute for Genomic Research.

The strain is a clinical isolate of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae, or pneumococcus, taken from the blood of a 30-year-old Norwegian male. Researchers describe the strain as highly invasive and virulent in a mouse model of infection.

Pneumococcus is the most common cause of acute respiratory and ear infections. Researchers estimate that over 3 million children die every year worldwide from pneumococcus-triggered pneumonia, bacteremia or meningitis.

In the United States, penicillin is the most commonly used antibiotic in keeping pneumococcus under control. But Morrison warned of the bacterium’s ability to breed resistance to penicillin and other antibiotics.

“Pneumococcus is carried by one-third or more of the population,” said Morrison. “We are relying mainly on penicillin to control it, but it’s becoming more and more resistant. So we are in a race to discover better ways to treat it before it discovers better ways to get around current treatments.”

With newer technologies and sophisticated genetic sequencing techniques playing a big role, Morrison said the complete sequencing of this genome might help researchers win that race.

In the past, biology students would spend years writing Ph.D. dissertations on sequences of single genes within pneumococcus. Now there’s a complete model openly available to researchers. The newly released genome contains 2,326 sequenced genes.

“The sequence now is just a matter of looking up something on a computer screen,” said Morrison. “This means we can now get back to doing biology, rather than doing sequencing and gene-finding. The experiments on the organism are the important, fun stuff.”

What is so interesting about pneumococcus? “It’s very good at finding DNA around it, taking it in and inserting it into its genome,” said Morrison. “It does essentially what you could think of as self-administered, natural gene therapy. We are studying how the bacterium does that.”

While the research may prove helpful in developing new therapies for controlling pneumococcus, it may also provide some clues on how gene therapy, in general, can be improved.

“If this organism, which does gene insertion with an efficiency that’s close to 100 percent, can reveal some of its secrets,” said Morrison, “maybe we can use those secrets to improve gene therapy for other purposes to get to a higher level of efficiency as well.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Chicago. "Pneumococcus Genome Sequence Completed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 July 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010720092953.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Chicago. (2001, July 20). Pneumococcus Genome Sequence Completed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010720092953.htm
University Of Illinois At Chicago. "Pneumococcus Genome Sequence Completed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/07/010720092953.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins