Protein Structure and Folding
- Virulent strains of Streptococcus pyogenes (gram-positive group A Streptococcus pyogenes [GAS]) recruit host single-chain human plasminogen (hPg) to the cell surface—where in the case of Pattern D strains of GAS, hPg binds directly to the cells through a surface receptor, plasminogen-binding group A streptococcal M-protein (PAM). The coinherited Pattern D GAS-secreted streptokinase (SK2b) then accelerates cleavage of hPg at the R561-V562 peptide bond, resulting in the disulfide-linked two-chain protease, human plasmin (hPm).
- The binding of human plasminogen (hPg) to the surface of the human pathogen group A Streptococcus pyogenes (GAS) and subsequent hPg activation to the protease plasmin generate a proteolytic surface that GAS employs to circumvent host innate immunity. Direct high-affinity binding of hPg/plasmin to pattern D GAS is fully recapitulated by the hPg kringle 2 domain (K2hPg) and a short internal peptide region (a1a2) of a specific subtype of bacterial surface M protein, present in all GAS pattern D strains.
- Dimeric M-proteins (M-Prt) in group A Streptococcus pyogenes (GAS) are surface-expressed virulence factors implicated in processes that contribute to the pathogenicity of infection. Sequence analyses of various GAS M-Prts have shown that they contain a highly conserved sortase A-dependent cell wall-anchored C terminus, whereas the surface-exposed N terminus is highly variable, a feature used for identification and serotyping of various GAS strains. This variability also allows for strain-specific responses that suppress host defenses.
- Evasion of complement-mediated opsonophagocytosis enables group A Streptococcus pyogenes (GAS) to establish infection. Different strain-dependent mechanisms are employed by the host to accomplish this goal. In general, GAS inhibits the amplification of the complement cascade on its cell surface by facilitating the degradation of C3b, an opsonin, to an inactive product, inactivated C3b (iC3b), in a step catalyzed by factor I (FI) and its cofactor, factor H (FH), with or without the participation of human host plasmin (hPm).
- Background Dissemination of Pattern D strains of S. pyogenes depends on a functional human fibrinolytic system. Results hPg binding domains of PAM, when transferred to unrelated M-proteins, up-regulates hPg binding and activation. Conclusion The nature of the streptokinase and the M-protein influence GAS virulence. SignificanceIn vitro studies indicate pathways for GAS to gain hypervirulence by gene transfer of small functional domains.