NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University have sequenced the genome of a bacterium found in the human mouth that can cause dangerous infections, VCU said today.
Researchers at VCU’s Center for the Study of Biological Complexity said the findings from the genome of Streptococcus sanguinis will help researchers learn more about the organism and help them develop treatments and preventive measures for infection.
S. sanguinis can cause fatal endocarditis if it enters the bloodstream of certain individuals, especially those who have pre-existing heart problems.
The study, which appears in the in the April issue of the Journal of Bacteriology, found that the bacterium comprises 2.4 million base pairs and is between 177 and 590 kb larger than the other 21 streptococcal genomes that have been sequenced to date.
The researchers also said their study found that S. sanguinis has a “remarkable abundance of putative surface proteins, which may permit it to be a primary colonizer of the oral cavity and agent of streptococcal endocarditis and infection in neutropenic patients.”
Francis Macrina, VCU’s vice president for research, said the school is already pursuing leads to find out if some of these surface proteins might be targets for drugs or vaccines.