Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists reveal steps leading to necrotizing fasciitis

Date:
January 16, 2014
Source:
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Summary:
Researchers have discovered the mechanism by which Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A streptococcus bacteria, cause life-threatening diseases such as necrotizing fasciitis (commonly known as flesh-eating disease) and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. This opens the door to possible future treatments to curb this and other potentially fatal bacteria.

How does Streptococcus pyogenes, or Group A streptococcus (GAS) -- a bacterial pathogen that can colonize humans without causing symptoms or can lead to mild infections -- also cause life-threatening diseases such as necrotizing fasciitis (commonly known as flesh-eating disease) and streptococcal toxic shock syndrome?

Related Articles


This mystery has intrigued many researchers in the field. Now, researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Faculty of Medicine have discovered how this bacterium turns deadly. This opens the door to possible future treatments to curb this and other potentially fatal bacteria.

Annually, GAS infections lead to at 500,000 deaths worldwide and cause severe consequences to those infected. The flesh-eating disease, in particular, is an extremely vicious infection which progresses rapidly throughout the soft tissues of the body, often leaving doctors with little time to stop or delay its progress. The main treatments include administration of antibiotics and surgical removal of infected tissues. Yet despite prompt treatment, the bacteria disseminate and cause death in approximately 25% of patients.

In probing how GAS progresses, Prof. Emanuel Hanski of the Institute of Medical Research Israel Canada at the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine, together with Ph.D. student Moshe Baruch and an international research team, discovered a novel mechanism that influences GAS virulence at the early steps of the infection. The results of their study are published in the scientific journal Cell.

They found that when GAS adheres and infects the host's cells, it delivers into these cells two streptolysin toxins. These toxins impair the body's mechanism for quality control of protein synthesis. This in turn triggers a defensive stress response which, among other things, also increases the production of the amino acid asparagine. GAS senses the increased asparagine level and alters its gene expression profile -- and its rate of proliferation, which can be deadly in the host.

The research team further discovered that asparaginase, a protein that digests asparagine and is a widely-used chemotherapeutic agent against leukemia, arrests GAS growth in human blood and in a mouse model of human bacterial infection. Asparginase has never before been used to treat GAS infections.

The findings of this study constitute a major advance of the concept that understanding the metabolic changes occurring between the pathogen and its host during infection can lead to development of new and more effective treatments against infectious diseases.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Moshe Baruch, Ilia Belotserkovsky, BaruchB. Hertzog, Miriam Ravins, Eran Dov, KevinS. McIver, YoannS. LeBreton, Yiting Zhou, CatherineYouting Chen, Emanuel Hanski. An Extracellular Bacterial Pathogen Modulates Host Metabolism to Regulate Its Own Sensing and Proliferation. Cell, 2014; 156 (1-2): 97 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2013.12.007

Cite This Page:

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Scientists reveal steps leading to necrotizing fasciitis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116130820.htm>.
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (2014, January 16). Scientists reveal steps leading to necrotizing fasciitis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116130820.htm
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "Scientists reveal steps leading to necrotizing fasciitis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140116130820.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Weird-Looking Dinosaur Solves 50-Year-Old Mystery

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) You've probably seen some weird-looking dinosaurs, but have you ever seen one this weird? It's worth a look. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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