The ability of Group A Streptococcus (GAS) to induce rapid destruction of red blood cells has been observed for more than a century and remains a clinical hallmark of GAS diagnosis. This destruction is due to the production of a small peptide toxin by GAS known as Streptolysin S (SLS).
Although it has been widely held that SLS exerts its lytic activity -- the excessive destruction of red blood cells -- through membrane disruption, its exact mode of action has remained unknown.
Findings critical to the support of our hypothesis were provided by in vivo studies performed at the W.M. Keck Center for Transgene Research, under the direction of Francis Castellino and Victoria Ploplis. Using humanized mouse models, Keck scientists Deborah Donahue and Jeff Mayfield demonstrated that by blocking the action of SLS toxin during a GAS infection, the pathology at the site of the infection could be drastically reduced. These findings have tremendous potential for developing novel therapeutics to treat severe diseases caused by Group A Streptococcus.
Study offers new insights into Group A Streptococcus | EurekAlert! Science News
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