Understanding the Bacterium that Causes Syphilis

Apr 15, 2010 By Carolyn Pennington

(PhysOrg.com) -- An article published in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences goes a long way toward improving understanding of the bacterium that causes syphilis and may lead to novel therapeutic approaches for the disease.

“Syphilis continues to be a major global public health problem,” says Dr. Justin Radolf, a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Genetics and . “In fact, more children in underdeveloped countries are born with syphilis than with HIV.”

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infectious disease caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum. Radolf, along with researchers from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, evaluated the major protective antioxidant systems of the .

“Research on this organism is challenging because it cannot be cultivated in vitro, greatly complicating our efforts to understand how the pathogen survives in people for such long periods of time,” explains Radolf.

“The work presented in this paper is important because only a very few of the normally wide variety of antioxidant proteins are expressed in these , suggesting that they may provide most or all of the oxidant protection afforded to the long-lived bacteria which persist in a very highly inflammatory environment rife with white blood cell-generated oxidants.”

Explore further: No more bleeding for 'iron overload' patients?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists gain new understanding of disease-causing bacteria

Nov 30, 2009

A team of scientists from The Forsyth Institute, the University of Connecticut Health Center, the CDC and the Wadsworth Center, have used state-of-the-art technology to elucidate the molecular architecture of Treponema pallidum, ...

NYC syphilis cases double in first quarter of 2007

Jul 09, 2007

After leveling off for more than two years, and declining in 2006, new syphilis cases spiked in New York City during the first three months of 2007. The Health Department announced today that doctors reported 260 cases of ...

Syphilis making a comeback

May 09, 2007

Three years after Virginia public health officials thought syphilis was almost eradicated, the disease has surged, with the number of cases doubling.

Recommended for you

Team finds key to tuberculosis resistance

1 minute ago

The cascade of events leading to bacterial infection and the immune response is mostly understood. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the immune response to the bacteria that causes tuberculosis ...

Mutation may cause early loss of sperm supply

57 minutes ago

Brown University biologists have determined how the loss of a gene in male mice results in the premature exhaustion of their fertility. Their fundamental new insights into the complex process of sperm generation ...

No more bleeding for 'iron overload' patients?

3 hours ago

Hemochromatosis (HH) is the most common genetic disorder in the western world, and yet is barely known. Only in the US 1 in 9 people carry the mutation (although not necessarily the disease).

3-D printing offers innovative method to deliver medication

8 hours ago

3-D printing could become a powerful tool in customizing interventional radiology treatments to individual patient needs, with clinicians having the ability to construct devices to a specific size and shape. That's according ...

Mystery of the reverse-wired eyeball solved

Feb 27, 2015

From a practical standpoint, the wiring of the human eye - a product of our evolutionary baggage - doesn't make a lot of sense. In vertebrates, photoreceptors are located behind the neurons in the back of the eye - resulting ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.