Haemophilus influenzae is a common cause of otitis media in children and is the No. 1 reason young children are seen by pediatricians. Researchers at the Columbus Children's Research Institute (CCRI) on the campus of Columbus Children's Hospital recently determined the complete genome sequence of a strain of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae, originally isolated from a child undergoing surgery for tube insertion at Columbus Children's Hospital. This effort was supported by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders of the National Institutes of Health and published in the July issue of the Journal of Bacteriology.
The CCRI research team, led by Robert Munson, Jr., PhD, from the Center for Microbial Pathogenesis at CCRI and the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, worked collaboratively with a research team from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, led by David Dyer, PhD, to complete the first genome sequence for a strain of nontypeable Haemophilus influenzaea germ responsible for otitis media and other diseases of the respiratory tract. Another group of researchers previously completed the genome sequence of a related organism that provided insight into the basic genetic makeup of the organism, but this earlier genomic sequence was not from an otitis media pathogen.
"Having the complete genome sequence for nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae allows us to understand the basic genetic makeup of the organism and how it causes disease," said Munson. "This information can help us design additional experiments that could eventually lead to a vaccine or novel intervention strategies for otitis media and other respiratory tract diseases."
In addition to the work with nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae, researchers at CCRI have a promising vaccine candidate to prevent middle ear infections and recently partnered with the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pharmaceutical companies and other scientists in an effort to expedite the process of developing what they believe is a long-overdue vaccine for ear infections.
Source: Columbus Children's Hospital