Project Snapshot

Prevention of Transmission Pillar

Identification Of Novel Group B Streptococcal Proteins Associated With Virulence.  

Project Key Words: Group B Streptococcus, Virulence, Antibiotic Resistance

Principal Investigator: Gregory J. Tyrrell, PhD, FCCM, D(ABMM)

Project Theme: Innovation and Commercialization

The Aim

The project has two aims:

  1. Identify and characterize novel GBS proteins involved in virulence. Identification of novel GBS proteins will be explored as potential GBS vaccine candidates.
  2. Understand GBS macrolide resistance in Alberta and the mechanisms associated with this resistance.


Why is This Important?

GBS causes invasive disease in both adults and neonates; however, it is in the neonate that the invasive disease is the most devastating. Understanding the mechanisms involved in GBS pathogenesis will allow for novel targeted therapies to be developed.


  1. Identification of novel GBS proteins associated with virulence (two proteins have already been identified)
  2. Determination if identified proteins are protective in an animal model of disease
  3. Publication of GBS antibiotic resistance rates for Alberta with updated recommendations for antibiotic prophylaxis for pregnant women

Research Questions

  1. Are there novel GBS proteins associated with virulence that have the potential to be protective vaccine candidates in animal models?
  2. What are the current rates of antibiotic resistance in GBS, most notably erythromycin and clindamycin resistance rates, and do these rates warrant recommendation changes in Alberta? 

Our Approach

Our approach will be three-fold:

  1. Mutagenesis and mass spectroscopy
  2. In vitro and in vivo virulence assays
  3. Antimicrobial susceptibility assays and PCR for detection of genes associated with resistance.

Leveraged Sources of Support

  • Tyrrell - General Research Funds
  • Provlab - in kind - GBS strains
  • CFI - Tyrrell - Equipment

Knowledge & Technology: Exchange and Exploitation

  • Input of funds will help in identifying potential new targets for preventing invasive GBS disease.
  • In addition, funds will help in identifying whether antibiotic prophylaxis recommendations need to be readjusted in Alberta.

Highly Qualified Personnel

  • Currently recruiting one full time PhD student.