In a finding that further validates an emerging vaccine strategy, researchers in Italy and the United States have worked backward from genome to antigens to identify a protein cocktail that may confer global protection against group B streptococcus (GBS). The process, reported in this week's Science, also revealed that GBS contain pili structures on their surfaces, according to a Brevia in the same issue.

This discovery represents "one of the important ways in which the promise of genomics can be harnessed, in terms of developing rational and high-throughput screens for novel vaccines," said Victor Nizet of the University of California, San Diego, who did not participate in these studies. "This is a global, high-throughput approach that has no preconceptions or biases about the proteins," he said.

GBS is a particularly complex organism with nine different serotypes, Nizet said. The researchers compared the genomes of eight bacterial samples that represent...

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