Detection of bacterial superantigens using HLA characterisation of the TCR class II and V signature

  • Lauren Spurling

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Bacterial superantigens (SAgs) are protein exotoxins of Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes which trigger massive, polyclonal, T cell activation dependent upon the HLA class II molecule, but independent of HLA class II processing. SAgs are responsible for streptococcal and staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome. The staphylococcal SAgs are responsible for enterotoxic food poisoning, whilst SAgs are also hypothesised to have a role in Kawasaki’s Disease and other forms of autoimmunity - rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes mellitus, psoriasis and eczema. The investigation, diagnosis and management of SAg mediated disease are hampered by limitations in the tools available for superantigen detection. SAgs are serologically very diverse, are active at tiny concentrations and surrogate markers of superantigenicity, such as V� specific changes in T cell repertoire, produce conflicting data even in the definitive syndrome of SAg exposure; toxic shock.
Date of Award2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton

Cite this