The exploitation of human glycans by Group A Streptococcus

Publication Name

FEMS microbiology reviews


Host carbohydrates, or glycans, have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many bacterial infections. Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a Gram-positive bacterium that readily colonises the skin and oropharynx, and is a significant cause of mortality in humans. While the glycointeractions orchestrated by many other pathogens are increasingly well-described, the understanding of the role of human glycans in GAS disease remains incomplete. Although basic investigation into the mechanisms of GAS disease is ongoing, several glycointeractions have been identified and are examined herein. The majority of research in this context has focussed on bacterial adherence, however, glycointeractions have also been implicated in carbohydrate metabolism; evasion of host immunity; biofilm adaptations; and toxin-mediated haemolysis. The involvement of human glycans in these diverse avenues of pathogenesis highlights the clinical value of understanding glycointeractions in combatting GAS disease.

Open Access Status

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Funding Sponsor

University Postgraduate Programme



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