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Genetics of Opportunistic Pathogens Laboratory

Genetica dei patogeni opportunisti

Referent: Giulia Barbieri

Co-workers: Prof.ssa Silvia Buroni, Dott.ssa Angelica Pellegrini

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is an opportunist Gram-positive bacterium which can turn from an asymptomatic colonizer of the gastrointestinal and urogenital tract of healthy adults, to a leading cause of sepsis and meningitis in neonates and immunocompromised patients. The shift between commensal and pathogenic lifestyles is governed by regulatory mechanisms that control gene expression in response to extracellular signals and to the abundance of key intracellular metabolites. In our laboratory, we study the role of the global transcriptional regulator CodY in controlling metabolism and virulence in GBS. We have recently demonstrated that deletion of the codY gene in a GBS hypervirulent strain responsible of neonatal meningitis results in the differential expression of 13% of the GBS genome and impairs the ability of the bacterium to cause infections in neonatal and adult murine models. Currently, we are focused on the study of the mechanisms of CodY-mediated regulation of gene expression in GBS, with a particular attention to genes involved in virulence.


  • Prof. Giampiero Pietrocola (Department of Molecular Medicine; University of Pavia);
  • Prof. Concetta Beninati and Prof. Carmelo Biondo (Department of Human and Pediatric Pathology “Gaetano Barresi”, University of Messina),
  • Dr. Arnaud Firon (Institut Pasteur).