July 27, 2009|
By Katherine Goldman
Kelly Doran's Research Featured on the Cover of The Journal of Infectious Diseases
SDSU professor Kelly Doran's research on Group B streptococcus was featured on the cover of the May 15th issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Nina van Sorge and Professor Kelly Doran
Professor Doran's research investigates how bacterial pathogens breach the blood-brain barrier (BBB) to cause meningitis. Her data suggest that GBS Srr glycoproteins play an important role in crossing the BBB and in the development of streptococcal meningitis, the leading cause of meningitis in newborns. Despite antibiotic therapies, mortality remains high. Of those infants who survive GBS disease, 25-50% are left with permanent neurological sequelae, including cerebral palsy, cognitive deficits, cortical blindness, deafness and seizures. Meningitis develops following bacterial bloodstream infection; however, the precise mechanism(s) whereby GBS leave the bloodstream and gain access to the central nervous system (CNS) remain unknown.
Histopathological analyisis of a brain sample obtained from a mouse infected with an invasive group Strptococcus strain reveals meningeal thickening and cellular infiltration.
Doran's research team recently identified a surface-associated GBS protein, Srr-1, as a high molecular weight glycoprotein. An experimental model of GBS meningitis demonstrated that infection with an Srr-1 positive strain results in brain inflammation and classics pathologies associated with bacterial meningitis (Figure featured on cover). Srr-1 contributes to meningeal infection and virulence by facilitating invasion of the cells that compose the BBB. Dr. Doran's study is the first to identify a GBS factor that functions directly to mediate GBS attachment to BBB endothelium, a critical first step in CNS invasion.