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Trevor Kraeger, Tyler Stokka, Jordan Williams, Chris Werner, Kassidy Branning, Anna Grim, Ben Weber, Emily Mytinger, Kaitlyn Rothamer, and GBH! SMART Team Project 2011. Meningitis: The Smooth Criminal. Common Cold or Something Worse???. Fever Persistent headaches Vomiting

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meningitis the smooth criminal

Trevor Kraeger, Tyler Stokka, Jordan Williams, Chris Werner, Kassidy Branning, Anna Grim, Ben Weber, Emily Mytinger, Kaitlyn Rothamer, and GBH!

SMART Team Project 2011

Meningitis: The Smooth Criminal
common cold or something worse
Common Cold or Something Worse???


Persistent headaches


Stiff and painful neck


Skin rash

Dizzy spells

statistics of meningitis
Statistics of Meningitis

1,500 infected annually

900-3,000 reported cases annually

Occurs in adolescents and young adults

1 out of every 7 adolescents will die

Are you caught up on your vaccinations???

what exactly is meningitis
What Exactly is Meningitis???

Swelling of the meninges

Bacterial and viral

Viral more common

Bacterial is deadly 

Outbreaks prevalent in close quarters

Permanent effects

neisseria meningitidis
Neisseria meningitidis

Gram Negative bacteria

Has an extra cell membrane

Thinner peptidoglycan layer

More complex (two zones rather than one)

how does this happen
How does this happen???
  • Penetration of the blood brain barrier (BBB)…
  • …through the help of heparin, fibronectin and OpcA
  • Secret Agent Analogy

another Heparin sulfate proteoglycan receptor method

opca interactions with the heparin and fibronectin or vitronectin

via pilius interactions, OpcA

Three different ways to Get Into the Cell



  • “Arm” of bacterial Meningitis
  • Has a polar positive region in the notch on the “front”
  • Mainly consists of a Beta Barrel


  • A component of Blood serum
  • a highly-sulfated long unbranched polysaccharide
  • an anticoagulant

Highest negative charge density of any known biological molecule!



2 Heparin Binding Sites

Integrin Binding site!

meningitis passing through unnoticed
Meningitis Passing through Unnoticed
  • OpcA positive groove binds to negative Heparin
  • Heparin bind to positive fibronectin sites (two sites)
  • Fibronectin attaches to the integrin on the exterior of the blood-brain barrier
  • Receptor Mediated Endocytosis
how to prevent meningitis from penetrating the bbb
How to Prevent Meningitis from penetrating the BBB
  • Methods of prevention
  • OpcA positive groove
  • Nothing is successful yet
  • With the technology of today currently expanding it will only be a matter of time before a mechanism is found.
s m a r t team
S.M.A.R.T. Team






our mission
Our Mission…
  • To perform background research on how meningitis works.
  • To model the proteins involved using JMOL
  • To give a kick butt presentation on meningitis and how it infiltrates the BBB!
  • After the above 3 objectives are completed, report back to GBH for your next assignment.
protein data bank
Protein Data Bank

Scientists make the protein data available to the public.

  • Dr. Shannon Colton
    • MSOE/ Center for Biomolecular Modeling
    • SMART Team Program
    • Other Smart team groups at DCE


  • You probably didn’t notice him up there during the entire presentation, did ya???