Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Toxin-producing bacteria: The importance of knowing your enemy

Date:
August 24, 2011
Source:
Teagasc
Summary:
A better understanding of how bacterial toxins cause common human diseases may lead to their improved treatment and prevention. Scientists have researched the identification, genetics and biochemistry of streptolysin S (SLS), a bacterial toxin produced by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. S. pyogenes causes a wide variety of infections of the upper respiratory tract and the skin, with complications leading to invasive diseases such as the "flesh-eating" skin disease, necrotising fasciitis, and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.

A better understanding of how bacterial toxins cause common human diseases may lead to their improved treatment and prevention according to a paper just published by Irish and US scientists in Nature Reviews Microbiology.

Scientists have researched the identification, genetics and biochemistry of streptolysin S (SLS), a bacterial toxin produced by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes. S. pyogenes causes a wide variety of infections of the upper respiratory tract and the skin, with complications leading to invasive diseases such as the "flesh-eating" skin disease, necrotising fasciitis, and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. As a consequence of these diseases, and other auto-immune complications like acute rheumatic fever, and subsequent rheumatic heart disease, up to half a million deaths per year worldwide are attributed to S. pyogenes infections.

Further research into this group of toxins will lead to the identification of novel targets for antibiotic and vaccine development for the treatment and prevention of human disease.

Lead author of the review, Evelyn M Molloy is a PhD student in microbiology at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, UCC, under the supervision of Paul Cotter, Colin Hill and Paul Ross. The research involves collaboration between the researchers at the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre based in UCC and Teagasc Moorepark Food Research Centre, along with colleagues at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Molloy's interest in listeriolysin S, a member of the SLS toxin family found in the food poisoning bacteria Listeria monocytogenes led to a collaboration with Douglas Mitchell at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA. Research trips by Molloy to the University of Illinois were funded by the Science Foundation Ireland and the Society for General Microbiology. Molloy's research is on food-grade antimicrobial peptides ('bacteriocins'), which can be employed to enhance food safety and improve human and animal health.

Infections likely to have been caused by S. pyogenes have been documented in humans for many centuries, including the apparent scarlet fever epidemic described by Hippocrates in the fifth century BC. Pasteur was the first to report isolation of this organism from the bloodstream in a woman with puerperal sepsis in 1884. The ability of the SLS toxin to destruct red blood cells was first discovered in the 1930s and since then its contribution to S. pyogenes infection has been the subject of much attention. However, despite a 100-year history of research, it has only recently been established that there is a family of SLS toxins produced by other streptococci and food poisoning bacteria such as L. monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Evelyn M. Molloy, Paul D. Cotter, Colin Hill, Douglas A. Mitchell, R. Paul Ross. Streptolysin S-like virulence factors: the continuing sagA. Nature Reviews Microbiology, 2011; 9 (9): 670 DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro2624

Cite This Page:

Teagasc. "Toxin-producing bacteria: The importance of knowing your enemy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110824091151.htm>.
Teagasc. (2011, August 24). Toxin-producing bacteria: The importance of knowing your enemy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110824091151.htm
Teagasc. "Toxin-producing bacteria: The importance of knowing your enemy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110824091151.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals 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
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
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