Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a versatile human pathogen causing diseases ranging from uncomplicated mucosal infections to life-threatening invasive disease. The development of human-relevant animal models of GAS infection and introduction of new technologies have markedly accelerated the pace of discoveries related to GAS host-pathogen interactions. For example, recently investigators have identified pili on the GAS cell surface and learned that they are key components for adherence to eukaryotic cell surfaces. Similarly, the recent development of a transgenic mouse expressing human plasminogen has resulted in new understanding of the molecular processes contributing to invasive infection. Improved understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of GAS pharyngeal, invasive and other infections holds the promise of assisting with the development of novel preventive or therapeutic agents for this prevalent human pathogen.
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