Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Decode Genome Of Oral Pathogen

Date:
April 6, 2007
Source:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Summary:
Scientists have decoded the genome of a bacteria normally present in the healthy human mouth that can cause a deadly heart infection if it enters the bloodstream.

Transmission electron micrograph of S. sanguinis.
Credit: Image courtesy of Lauren Turner/VCU

Virginia Commonwealth University researchers have decoded the genome of a bacteria normally present in the healthy human mouth that can cause a deadly heart infection if it enters the bloodstream.

The finding enables scientists to better understand the organism, Streptococcus sanguinis, and develop new strategies for treatment and infection prevention.

S. sanguinis, a type of bacteria that is naturally present in the mouth, is among a variety of microorganisms responsible for the formation of dental plaque. In general, S. sanguinis is harmless. However, if it enters the bloodstream, possibly through a minor cut or wound in the mouth, it can cause bacterial endocarditis, a serious and often lethal infection of the heart.

Individuals with preexisting heart problems are at an increased risk of developing bacterial endocarditis. The infection may result in impaired heart function and complications such as heart attack and stroke. Typically, before dental surgery, such patients are given high dose antibiotics to prevent infection.

Decoding S. sanguinis, a streptococcal bacteria, will provide researchers with unique insight into its complex life cycle, metabolism and its ability to invade the host and cause bacterial endocarditis.

"We can apply this information toward the design of new treatments and preventative strategies to protect against this disease," said lead investigator, Francis Macrina, Ph.D., VCU's vice president for research. "Analysis of the genome revealed a surprising number of proteins on the S. sanguinis cell surface that may be new targets for drugs or vaccines. We are already at work pursuing some of these leads."

Although it is not directly associated with tooth decay or gum disease, S. sanguinis is a prominent member of dental plaque. "Genomic studies of this organism will also help us better understand the formation of dental plaque and the initiation of oral diseases," added Macrina.

The team reported that the genome of the gram-positive bacterium is a circular DNA molecule consisting of approximately 2.4 million base pairs. They analyzed the S. sanguinis genome and found that it was larger than other streptococci that have been sequenced. Some of this extra DNA was apparently adopted from another bacterium and encodes genes that may give S. sanguinis the ability to survive better in the face of good oral hygiene. If so, this could explain the recent emergence of S. sanguinis as an important pathogen.

"The sequence of the S. sanguinis genome gives us a comprehensive view of the biological potential of this important pathogen," said Gregory A. Buck, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity at VCU, who directed the sequencing and analysis. "This data opens a window into the inner workings of this bacterium. We now may be able to determine how and why these organisms cause disease."

The findings were reported in the April 2007 issue of the Journal of Bacteriology, which is published by the American Society of Microbiology.

This work was supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Macrina and Buck collaborated with other VCU researchers from the Philips Institute of Oral and Craniofacial Molecular Biology, the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics. Joao M. Alves and Ping Xu, Ph.D., share the honor of first authorship on this manuscript. Other researchers included Todd Kitten, Ph.D., Zhenming Chen, Ph.D., Luiz S. Ozki, Ph.D., Patricio Manque, Ph.D., Myrna G. Serrano, Ph.D., Arunsri Brown, Ph.D., Xiuchun Ge, Ph.D., Daniela Puiu Ph.D., Stephanie Hendricks, Ph.D., Yingping Wang, Ph.D., Michael D. Chaplin, Ph.D., Doruk Akan, Ph.D., Sehmi Paik, Ph.D., and Darrell L. Peterson, Ph.D.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Commonwealth University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Commonwealth University. "Scientists Decode Genome Of Oral Pathogen." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070405180524.htm>.
Virginia Commonwealth University. (2007, April 6). Scientists Decode Genome Of Oral Pathogen. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070405180524.htm
Virginia Commonwealth University. "Scientists Decode Genome Of Oral Pathogen." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070405180524.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

New Drug Could Reduce Cardiovascular Deaths

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) The new drug from Novartis could reduce cardiovascular deaths by 20 percent compared to other similar drugs. Video provided by Newsy
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