Our main objective is to develop methods to protect against streptococcal infections in particular and gram-positive infections in general. Group A streptococcal-associated disease (pharyngitis, rheumatic fever, necrotizing fasciitis, impetigo, and scarlet fever, to name a few) affects millions of people, particularly children, worldwide. In developing countries, rheumatic heart disease is the major cause of heart damage in the school-age population. The severity of streptococcal diseases provides the impetus to develop novel methods to both prevent and treat these infections. Using a mucosal vaccine approach we have been successful in achieving cross-protection against heterologous streptococcal serotypes in a mouse model using the conserved region of the streptococcal M protein as the antigen. This approach circumvents the need to prepare type- specific antigens directed to the >120 streptococcal M serotypes. Furthermore, since the only reservoir for group A streptococci is the human pharynx, we have used a model system to successfully decolonized the oral cavity of mice of colonizing group A streptococci using a specific phage lytic enzyme. We hope to use this approach to reduce the bacterial burden in the human population and thus reduce disease. The experiments outlined in this proposal will expand these findings to develop both a new generation streptococcal vaccine and a prophylactic treatment to prevent streptococcal infections. In addition, during our studies, we identified a novel glycosylated enzyme in group A streptococci that is responsible for both attachment of surface proteins and cell wall assembly. This novel molecule is not ribosomally synthesized and as such we wish to determine its method of assembly. Since this glycoprotein is also found in other gram- positive bacteria (i.e., staphylococci and pneumococci) an understanding of its biosynthesis should offer novel targets for antibiotic development against these and perhaps other bacterial pathogens. The complete or partial M protein has not yet been crystallized. To better understand the details of the M protein structure and its multifunctional capacity, we will collaborate to solve the crystal structure of the biologically active N- and C-terminal halves of the molecule. Since many surface proteins on gram-positive bacteria are extended coiled-coil structures of modular design, structural data for the M molecule will allow for a better understanding of other surface proteins on gram-positives. In summary, our continued studies on gram-positive pathogenic bacteria over the >30 years of this grant has revealed new information regarding these pathogens enabling new strategies for their control;this application will continue in this direction.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Bacterial Pathogenesis Study Section (BACP)
Program Officer
GU, Xin-Xing
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Rockefeller University
Other Domestic Higher Education
New York
United States
Zip Code
Schuch, Raymond; Khan, Babar K; Raz, Assaf et al. (2017) Bacteriophage Lysin CF-301, a Potent Antistaphylococcal Biofilm Agent. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 61:
Euler, Chad W; Juncosa, Barbara; Ryan, Patricia A et al. (2016) Targeted Curing of All Lysogenic Bacteriophage from Streptococcus pyogenes Using a Novel Counter-selection Technique. PLoS One 11:e0146408
Shen, Yang; Barros, Marilia; Vennemann, Tarek et al. (2016) A bacteriophage endolysin that eliminates intracellular streptococci. Elife 5:
Hendrickson, Christina; Euler, Chad W; Nguyen, Scott V et al. (2015) Elimination of Chromosomal Island SpyCIM1 from Streptococcus pyogenes Strain SF370 Reverses the Mutator Phenotype and Alters Global Transcription. PLoS One 10:e0145884
Lood, Rolf; Raz, Assaf; Molina, Henrik et al. (2014) A highly active and negatively charged Streptococcus pyogenes lysin with a rare D-alanyl-L-alanine endopeptidase activity protects mice against streptococcal bacteremia. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 58:3073-84
Gilmer, Daniel B; Schmitz, Jonathan E; Euler, Chad W et al. (2013) Novel bacteriophage lysin with broad lytic activity protects against mixed infection by Streptococcus pyogenes and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 57:2743-50
McGowan, Sheena; Buckle, Ashley M; Mitchell, Michael S et al. (2012) X-ray crystal structure of the streptococcal specific phage lysin PlyC. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:12752-7
Raz, Assaf; Talay, Susanne R; Fischetti, Vincent A (2012) Cellular aspects of the distinct M protein and SfbI anchoring pathways in Streptococcus pyogenes. Mol Microbiol 84:631-47
Aksyuk, Anastasia A; Bowman, Valorie D; Kaufmann, Barbel et al. (2012) Structural investigations of a Podoviridae streptococcus phage C1, implications for the mechanism of viral entry. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:14001-6
Schmitz, Jonathan E; Ossiprandi, Maria Cristina; Rumah, Kareem R et al. (2011) Lytic enzyme discovery through multigenomic sequence analysis in Clostridium perfringens. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 89:1783-95

Showing the most recent 10 out of 91 publications