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Sequencing Study Leads to Vaccine Target in Bacteria Behind Neonatal Meningitis

A team from the US and France reporting in eBioMedicine describes potential immunotherapy targets in bacterial pathogens involved in neonatal meningitis. With the help of high-throughput transposon sequencing (TnSeq), the researchers searched for fitness contributors in the mutant K1 strain Escherichia coli in a mouse model of neonatal meningitis, focusing on possible vaccine candidate genes related to brain infection or systemic dissemination of the bacterial meningitis bug. From there, they performed a series of follow-up analyses on one of these candidates — a surface polysaccharide known as poly-beta-(1,6)-N-acetyl glucosamine, or PNAG — demonstrating that the virulence factor may be vulnerable to vaccine targeting in E. coli K1 and in Group B Streptococcus that can also cause neonatal meningitis. "These findings support further investigations of PNAG-targeting vaccines in at risk pregnancies and/or [monoclonal antibody] immunotherapy for at risk neonates such as the prematurely born," the authors write. "If further testing is successful, it could support human testing of this potential means to prevent serious neurologic infections in neonates.

The Scan

International Team Proposes Checklist for Returning Genomic Research Results

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics present a checklist to guide the return of genomic research results to study participants.

Study Presents New Insights Into How Cancer Cells Overcome Telomere Shortening

Researchers report in Nucleic Acids Research that ATRX-deficient cancer cells have increased activity of the alternative lengthening of telomeres pathway.

Researchers Link Telomere Length With Alzheimer's Disease

Within UK Biobank participants, longer leukocyte telomere length is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, according to a new study in PLOS One.

Nucleotide Base Detected on Near-Earth Asteroid

Among other intriguing compounds, researchers find the nucleotide uracil, a component of RNA sequences, in samples collected from the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu, as they report in Nature Communications.