Longitudinal analysis of the group A Streptococcus transcriptome in experimental pharyngitis in cynomolgus macaques

Kimmo Virtaneva, Stephen F. Porcella, Morag R. Graham, Robin M. Ireland, Claire A. Johnson, Stacy M. Ricklefs, Imran Babar, Larye D. Parkins, Romina A. Romero, G. Judson Corn, Don J. Gardner, John R. Bailey, Michael J. Parnell, James M. Musser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations


Identification of the genetic events that contribute to host-pathogen interactions is important for understanding the natural history of infectious diseases and developing therapeutics. Transcriptome studies conducted on pathogens have been central to this goal in recent years. However, most of these investigations have focused on specific end points or disease phases, rather than analysis of the entire time course of infection. To gain a more complete understanding of how bacterial gene expression changes over time in a primate host, the transcriptome of group A Streptococcus (GAS) was analyzed during an 86-day infection protocol in 20 cynomolgus macaques with experimental pharyngitis. The study used 260 custom Affymetrix (Santa Clara, CA) chips, and data were confirmed by TaqMan analysis. Colonization, acute, and asymptomatic phases of disease were identified. Successful colonization and severe inflammation were significantly correlated with an early onset of superantigen gene expression. The differential expression of two-component regulators covR and spy0680 (M1_spy0874) was significantly associated with GAS colony-forming units, inflammation, and phases of disease. Prophage virulence gene expression and prophage induction occurred predominantly during high pathogen cell densities and acute inflammation. We discovered that temporal changes in the GAS transcriptome were integrally linked to the phase of clinical disease and host-defense response. Knowledge of the gene expression patterns characterizing each phase of pathogen-host interaction provides avenues for targeted investigation of proven and putative virulence factors and genes of unknown function and will assist vaccine research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9014-9019
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 21 2005


  • Affymetrix genechip
  • Carriage
  • Clinical correlation
  • Colonization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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