Researchers identify novel pathway responsible for infection of a common STD pathogen

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have for the first time identified a novel pathway that is necessary for infection to occur with the pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is responsible for the second most common infectious disease worldwide, gonorrhea. The study, which was recently published online in the Journal of Bacteriology, may lead to new treatment methods for this sexually transmitted disease.

N. gonorrhoeae is a that readily develops resistance to antibiotics such as sulfanilamides, penicillins, tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones. It has recently been reported that N. gonorrhoeae is becoming resistant to cephalosporins, which are the only treatment option recommended by the (CDC). Today, new therapeutic methods other than antibiotics are in great need to treat these infections.

According to the BUSM researchers, understanding the process of how N. gonorrhoeae causes disease in both men and women is essential for the design of new targets to block the infection. "The first step in the disease gonorrhea is the colonization of bacteria on human mucosal surfaces, such as the vaginal and penile mucosa," explained senior author Caroline Genco, PhD, professor of medicine and microbiology and director of research in at BUSM.

In this study, Genco and her colleagues identified a novel pathway that is critical for colonization of this bacterium on host mucosal surface. The key of this pathway is a single protein, designated as Fur, the ferric uptake , which controls the expression of hundreds of N. gonorrhoeae genes by either increasing or decreasing the expression of these genes.

The study found that genes whose expression is increased by Fur may play a critical role in the prevention of disease development by triggering the host immune system to recognize and clear the bacterium.

"These pivotal studies provide new candidates that can be targeted for therapeutic intervention in this common sexually transmitted disease," she added.

Related Stories

Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea increases from 2 percent to 28 percent

Feb 02, 2009

The prevalence of quinolone-resistant gonorrhea has increased rapidly in Ontario - Canada's most populous province - from a rate of 2% in 2001 to 28% in 2006, found a study published in CMAJ http://www.cmaj.ca/press/pg287.pdf. Infections in heterosexual men appear to have contribut ...

Gonorrhea acquires a piece of human DNA

Feb 14, 2011

If a human cell and a bacterial cell met at a speed-dating event, they would never be expected to exchange phone numbers, much less genetic material. In more scientific terms, a direct transfer of DNA has never been recorded ...

Recommended for you

UN says Syria vaccine deaths was an NGO 'mistake'

5 hours ago

The recent deaths of Syrian children after receiving measles vaccinations was the result of a "mistake" by a non-governmental partner who mixed in a muscle relaxant meant for anesthesia, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general ...

First US child dies from enterovirus D68

5 hours ago

A child in the northeastern US state of Rhode Island has become the first to die from an ongoing outbreak of a respiratory virus, enterovirus D68, health officials said Wednesday.

US Ebola patient had contact with kids: governor

5 hours ago

A man who was diagnosed with Ebola in virus in Texas came in contact with young children, and experts are monitoring them for any signs of disease, governor Rick Perry said Wednesday.

UN worker dies of suspected Ebola in Liberia

6 hours ago

The United Nations mission in Liberia announced on Wednesday the first suspected victim among its employees of the deadly Ebola epidemic ravaging the impoverished west African nation.

User comments