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Recent advances in understanding the molecular basis of group B Streptococcus virulence

  • Heather C. Maisey (a1), Kelly S. Doran (a2) and Victor Nizet (a1) (a3)
Abstract

Group B Streptococcus commonly colonises healthy adults without symptoms, yet under certain circumstances displays the ability to invade host tissues, evade immune detection and cause serious invasive disease. Consequently, Group B Streptococcus remains a leading cause of neonatal pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis. Here we review recent information on the bacterial factors and mechanisms that direct host–pathogen interactions involved in the pathogenesis of Group B Streptococcus infection. New research on host signalling and inflammatory responses to Group B Streptococcus infection is summarised. An understanding of the complex interplay between Group B Streptococcus and host provides valuable insight into pathogen evolution and highlights molecular targets for therapeutic intervention.

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*Corresponding author: Victor Nizet, Professor of Pediatrics and Pharmacy, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0687, USA. Tel:  + 1 858 534 7408; Fax:  + 1 858 534 5611; E-mail: vnizet@ucsd.edu
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