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: Paralyzed man recovers some function following transplantation of OECs and nerve bridge

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 untangles the biological effects of blue light

6 hours ago

Blue light can both set the mood and set in motion important biological responses. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's School of Medicine and School of Arts and Sciences have teased apart the ...

Mouse model provides new insight in to preeclampsia

6 hours ago

Worldwide, preeclampsia is a leading cause of maternal deaths and preterm births. This serious pregnancy complication results in extremely high blood pressure and organ damage. The onset of preeclampsia is associated with ...

Scientists unravel the mystery of a rare sweating disorder

6 hours ago

An international research team discovered that mutation of a single gene blocks sweat production, a dangerous condition due to an increased risk of hyperthermia, also known as heatstroke. The gene, ITPR2, controls a basic ...

User comments : 0