23. How Mild Bacteria Become Flesh Eaters

Scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Medicine found, Streptococcus pyogenes, turns virulent and causes necrotizing fasciitis, which is flesh-eating disease. S. pyogenes, which is also known as Group A streptococcus (GAS), reportedly is responsible for 500,000 deaths worldwide. 

The research group, which reported their study on “An Extracellular Bacterial Pathogen Modulates Host Metabolism to Regulate Its Own Sensing and Proliferation” in Cell, shows a novel mechanism that influences GAS virulence at the early steps of the infection. They observe that when GAS adheres and infects the host’s cells, it delivers two streptolysin toxins into host cells. These toxins interfere with the body for protein synthesis. This triggers off a defensive stress response, which increase the production rate of asparagine (ASN).

“Asparaginase, a widely used chemotherapeutic agent, arrests GAS growth in human blood and blocks GAS proliferation in a mouse model of human bacteremia. This results is making mark in  a pathogenic pathway and propose a therapeutic strategy against GAS infections.”

The discovery can lead to development of new and more effective treatments against infectious diseases.
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