Loosening the Stranglehold of Streptococcus equi subsp. equi: Elucidating Host Specificity
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The bacterium Streptococcus equi subspecies equi causes the disease in horses know as strangles. Strangles is the most common bacterial disease of horses on a worldwide basis. The causal agent is highly contagious and infection is restricted to horses. In contrast, the subspecies of Streptococcus equi subspecies zooepidemicus can be found as a normal inhabitant of the upper airway of horses. Strep. equi subspecies zooepidemicus will occasionallyu result in disease in horses and in people, Understanding why 2 very closely related subspecies of bacteria differ in their host range will likely identify genes that determine why and how Strep. equi subspecies equi is able to interact specifically with the cells of horses to bind and infect whereas Strep. equi subspecies zooepidemicus infects cells of many species of animals. These genes will serve as targets for developing new therapeutic and preventative strategies to address an ancient and common disease of horses.