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Future Microbiol. 2009 Mar;4(2):201-21. doi: 10.2217/17460913.4.2.201.

Understanding the regulation of Group B Streptococcal virulence factors.

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Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, University of Washington & Seattle Children's Hospital Research Institute, 1900 Ninth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101-91304, USA.


Bacterial infections remain a significant threat to the health of newborns and adults. Group B Streptococci (GBS) are Gram-positive bacteria that are common asymptomatic colonizers of healthy adults. However, this opportunistic organism can also subvert suboptimal host defenses to cause severe invasive disease and tissue damage. The increasing emergence of antibiotic-resistant GBS raises more concerns for sustained measures in treatment of the disease. A number of factors that are important for virulence of GBS have been identified. This review summarizes the functions of some well-characterized virulence factors, with an emphasis on how GBS regulates their expression. Regulatory and signaling molecules are attractive drug targets in the treatment of bacterial infections. Consequently, understanding signaling responses of GBS is essential for elucidation of pathogenesis of GBS infection and for the identification of novel therapeutic agents.

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