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Research Abstracts Online
January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Microbiology

PI: Patrick M. Schlievert

Molecular Pathogenesis and Immunology: Streptococci and Staphylococci

Research in the Schlievert laboratory studies both exotoxins made by Staphylococcus aureus and group A streptococci and the pathogenesis of enterococcal endocarditis. Specifically, the exotoxins investigated are pyrogenic toxin superantigens. Included in this larger family are toxic-shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1), a cause of TSS; staphylococcal enterotoxins, causes of food poisoning and some TSS; and streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxins, causes of scarlet fever and a toxic shock syndrome-like illness. Specific areas of ongoing research include: elucidation of the mechanism of T cell alteration by the toxins and correlation with illnesses such as TSS, scarlet fever, autoimmunity, and lymphoproliferative diseases; elucidation of the mechanism of enhanced susceptibility to lethal shock and heart damage; molecular genetic analysis of mechanisms controlling expression of the toxins; and elucidation of the mechanism of toxicity for endothelial cells. Finally, studies are underway to characterize the bacterial cell surface factors required to induce endocarditis.

Group Members

Suzanne Grindle, Staff
Petra Kohler, Research Associate
Kristi Strandberg, Graduate Student
Jill Vocke, Staff