Systems Genetics Approaches in Mouse Models of Group A Streptococcal Necrotizing Soft-Tissue Infections

Suba Nookala, Karthickeyan Chella Krishnan, Santhosh Mukundan, Malak Kotb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


Mouse models are invaluable resources for studying the pathogenesis and preclinical evaluation of therapeutics and vaccines against many human pathogens. Infections caused by group A streptococcus (GAS, Streptococcus pyogenes) are heterogeneous ranging from mild pharyngitis to severe invasive necrotizing fasciitis, a subgroup of necrotizing soft-tissue infections (NSTIs). While several strains of mice including BALB/c, C3H/HeN, CBA/J, and C57BL/10 offered significant insights, the human specificity and the interindividual variations on susceptibility or resistance to GAS infections limit their ability to mirror responses as seen in humans. In this chapter, we discuss the advanced recombinant inbred (ARI) BXD mouse model that mimics the genetic diversity as seen in humans and underpins the feasibility to map multiple genes (genetic loci) modulating GAS NSTI. GAS produces a myriad of virulence factors, including superantigens (SAg). Superantigens are potent immune toxins that activate T cells by cross-linking T cell receptors with human leukocyte antigen class-II (HLA-II) molecules expressed on antigen-presenting cells. This leads to a pro-inflammatory cytokine storm and the subsequent multiple organ damage and shock. Inbred mice are innately refractive to SAg-mediated responses. In this chapter, we discuss the versatility of the HLA-II transgenic mouse model that allowed the biological validation of known genetic associations to GAS NSTI. The combined utility of ARI-BXD and HLA-II mice as complementary approaches that offer clinically translatable insights into pathomechanisms driven by complex traits and host genetic context and novel means to evaluate the in vivo efficiency of therapies to improve outcomes of GAS NSTI are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598
ISSN (Electronic)2214-8019


  • IL-1β, HLA-II
  • NSTI
  • Streptococcus pyogenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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