• Genetic variation in group A streptococci.

      McMillan, David J; Sriprakash, Kadaba S; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-11)
      Group A streptococcus (GAS) is responsible for a range of human diseases that vary in their clinical manifestations and severity. While numerous virulence factors have been described, the way these factors interact to promote different streptococcal diseases is less clear. In order to identify multifactorial relationships between GAS and the human host, novel high-throughput techniques such as microarrays are necessary. We have performed comparative studies using custom-designed virulence arrays to enhance our understanding of the high degree of genotypic variation that occurs in streptococci. This study has pointed to mobile genetic elements as the major agents that promote variation. Our results show that multiple combinations of genes might bring about similar clinical pictures. This adds further complexity to the intricate relationship between pathogen and host.
    • The genome sequence of Methanohalophilus mahii SLP(T) reveals differences in the energy metabolism among members of the Methanosarcinaceae inhabiting freshwater and saline environments.

      Spring, Stefan; Scheuner, Carmen; Lapidus, Alla; Lucas, Susan; Glavina Del Rio, Tijana; Tice, Hope; Copeland, Alex; Cheng, Jan-Fang; Chen, Feng; Nolan, Matt; Saunders, Elizabeth; Pitluck, Sam; Liolios, Konstantinos; Ivanova, Natalia; Mavromatis, Konstantinos; Lykidis, Athanasios; Pati, Amrita; Chen, Amy; Palaniappan, Krishna; Land, Miriam; Hauser, Loren; Chang, Yun-Juan; Jeffries, Cynthia D; Goodwin, Lynne; Detter, John C; Brettin, Thomas; Rohde, Manfred; Göker, Markus; Woyke, Tanja; Bristow, Jim; Eisen, Jonathan A; Markowitz, Victor; Hugenholtz, Philip; Kyrpides, Nikos C; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D38124 Braunschweig (2010)
      Methanohalophilus mahii is the type species of the genus Methanohalophilus, which currently comprises three distinct species with validly published names. Mhp. mahii represents moderately halophilic methanogenic archaea with a strictly methylotrophic metabolism. The type strain SLP(T) was isolated from hypersaline sediments collected from the southern arm of Great Salt Lake, Utah. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the complete genome sequence and annotation. The 2,012,424 bp genome is a single replicon with 2032 protein-coding and 63 RNA genes and part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project. A comparison of the reconstructed energy metabolism in the halophilic species Mhp. mahii with other representatives of the Methanosarcinaceae reveals some interesting differences to freshwater species.
    • Genome sequence of the Antarctic rhodopsins-containing flavobacterium Gillisia limnaea type strain (R-8282T)

      Riedel, Thomas; Held, Brittany; Nolan, Matt; Lucas, Susan; Lapidus, Alla; Tice, Hope; Del Rio, Tijana Glavina; Cheng, Jan-Fang; Han, Cliff; Tapia, Roxanne; Goodwin, Lynne A.; Pitluck, Sam; Liolios, Konstantinos; Mavromatis, Konstantinos; Pagani, Ioanna; Ivanova, Natalia; Mikhailova, Natalia; Pati, Amrita; Chen, Amy; Palaniappan, Krishna; Land, Miriam; Rohde, Manfred; Tindall, Brian J.; Detter, John C.; Göker, Markus; Bristow, James; Eisen, Jonathan A.; Markowitz, Victor; Hugenholtz, Philip; Kyrpides, Nikos C.; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Woyke, Tanja (2013-02-07)
    • Genome sequence of the filamentous, gliding Thiothrix nivea neotype strain (JP2(T)).

      Lapidus, Alla; Nolan, Matt; Lucas, Susan; Glavina Del Rio, Tijana; Tice, Hope; Cheng, Jan-Fang; Tapia, Roxanne; Han, Cliff; Goodwin, Lynne; Pitluck, Sam; Liolios, Konstantinos; Pagani, Ioanna; Ivanova, Natalia; Huntemann, Marcel; Mavromatis, Konstantinos; Mikhailova, Natalia; Pati, Amrita; Chen, Amy; Palaniappan, Krishna; Land, Miriam; Brambilla, Evelyne-Marie; Rohde, Manfred; Abt, Birte; Verbarg, Susanne; Göker, Markus; Bristow, James; Eisen, Jonathan A; Markowitz, Victor; Hugenholtz, Philip; Kyrpides, Nikos C; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Woyke, Tanja (2011-12-31)
      Thiothrix nivea (Rabenhorst 1865) Winogradsky 1888 (Approved Lists 1980) emend. Larkin and Shinabarger 1983 is the type species of the genus Thiothrix in the family Thiotrichaceae. The species is of interest not only because of its isolated location in the yet to be genomically characterized region of the tree of life, but also because of its life-style with gliding gonidia, the multilayer sheath, rosettes, and the embedded sulfur granules. Strain JP2(T) is the neotype strain of the species which was first observed by Rabenhorst in 1865 and later reclassified by Winogradsky in 1888 into the then novel genus Thiothrix. This is the first completed (improved-high-quality-draft) genome sequence to be published of a member of the family Thiotrichaceae. The genome in its current assembly consists of 15 contigs in four scaffolds with a total of 4,691,711 bp bearing 4,542 protein-coding and 52 RNA genes and is a part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.
    • Genome sequence of the flexirubin-pigmented soil bacterium Niabella soli type strain (JS13-8T)

      Anderson, Iain; Munk, Christine; Lapidus, Alla; Nolan, Matt; Lucas, Susan; Tice, Hope; Glavina Del Rio, Tijana; Cheng, Jan-Fang; Han, Cliff; Tapia, Roxanne; Goodwin, Lynne; Pitluck, Sam; Liolios, Konstantinos; Mavromatis, Konstantinos; Pagani, Ioanna; Mikhailova, Natalia; Pati, Amrita; Chen, Amy; Palaniappan, Krishna; Land, Miriam; Brambilla, Evelyne-Marie; Rohde, Manfred; Tindall, Brian J; Göker, Markus; Detter, John C.; Woyke, Tanja; Bristow, James; Eisen, Jonathan A; Markowitz, Victor; Hugenholtz, Philip; Kyrpides, Nikos C; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Ivanova, Natalia (2012)
    • Genome sequence of the moderately thermophilic halophile Flexistipes sinusarabici strain (MAS10).

      Lapidus, Alla; Chertkov, Olga; Nolan, Matt; Lucas, Susan; Hammon, Nancy; Deshpande, Shweta; Cheng, Jan-Fang; Tapia, Roxanne; Han, Cliff; Goodwin, Lynne; Pitluck, Sam; Liolios, Konstantinos; Pagani, Ioanna; Ivanova, Natalia; Huntemann, Marcel; Mavromatis, Konstantinos; Mikhailova, Natalia; Pati, Amrita; Chen, Amy; Palaniappan, Krishna; Land, Miriam; Hauser, Loren; Brambilla, Evelyne-Marie; Rohde, Manfred; Abt, Birte; Spring, Stefan; Göker, Markus; Bristow, James; Eisen, Jonathan A; Markowitz, Victor; Hugenholtz, Philip; Kyrpides, Nikos C; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Woyke, Tanja (2011-10-15)
      Flexistipes sinusarabici Fiala et al. 2000 is the type species of the genus Flexistipes in the family Deferribacteraceae. The species is of interest because of its isolated phylogenetic location in a genomically under-characterized region of the tree of life, and because of its origin from a multiply extreme environment; the Atlantis Deep brines of the Red Sea, where it had to struggle with high temperatures, high salinity, and a high concentrations of heavy metals. This is the fourth completed genome sequence to be published of a type strain of the family Deferribacteraceae. The 2,526,590 bp long genome with its 2,346 protein-coding and 53 RNA genes is a part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.
    • Genome sequence of the moderately thermophilic sulfur-reducing bacterium Thermanaerovibrio velox type strain (Z-9701T) and emended description of the genus Thermanaerovibrio

      Palaniappan, Krishna; Meier-Kolthoff, Jan P.; Teshima, Hazuki; Nolan, Matt; Lapidus, Alla; Tice, Hope; Del Rio, Tijana Glavina; Cheng, Jan-Fang; Han, Cliff; Tapia, Roxanne; Goodwin, Lynne A.; Pitluck, Sam; Liolios, Konstantinos; Mavromatis, Konstantinos; Pagani, Ioanna; Ivanova, Natalia; Mikhailova, Natalia; Pati, Amrita; Chen, Amy; Rohde, Manfred; Mayilraj, Shanmugam; Spring, Stefan; Detter, John C.; Göker, Markus; Bristow, James; Eisen, Jonathan A.; Markowitz, Victor; Hugenholtz, Philip; Kyrpides, Nikos C.; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Woyke, Tanja; Research group medical microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Braunschweig, Germany (2014-01-06)
    • Genome sequence of the moderately thermophilic, amino-acid-degrading and sulfur-reducing bacterium Thermovirga lienii type strain (Cas60314(T)).

      Göker, Markus; Saunders, Elisabeth; Lapidus, Alla; Nolan, Matt; Lucas, Susan; Hammon, Nancy; Deshpande, Shweta; Cheng, Jan-Fang; Han, Cliff; Tapia, Roxanne; Goodwin, Lynne A; Pitluck, Sam; Liolios, Konstantinos; Mavromatis, Konstantinos; Pagani, Ioanna; Ivanova, Natalia; Mikhailova, Natalia; Pati, Amrita; Chen, Amy; Palaniappan, Krishna; Land, Miriam; Chang, Yun-Juan; Jeffries, Cynthia D; Brambilla, Evelyne-Marie; Rohde, Manfred; Spring, Stefan; Detter, John C; Woyke, Tanja; Bristow, James; Eisen, Jonathan A; Markowitz, Victor; Hugenholtz, Philip; Kyrpides, Nikos C; Klenk, Hans-Peter (2012-05-25)
      Thermovirga lienii Dahle and Birkeland 2006 is a member of the genus Thermovirga in the genomically moderately well characterized phylum 'Synergistetes'. Members of this relatively recently proposed phylum 'Synergistetes' are of interest because of their isolated phylogenetic position and their diverse habitats, e.g. from humans to oil wells. The genome of T. lienii Cas60314(T) is the fifth genome sequence (third completed) from this phylum to be published. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the complete genome sequence and annotation. The 1,999,646 bp long genome (including one plasmid) with its 1,914 protein-coding and 59 RNA genes is a part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.
    • Genome sequence of the ocean sediment bacterium Saccharomonospora marina type strain (XMU15(T)).

      Klenk, Hans-Peter; Lu, Megan; Lucas, Susan; Lapidus, Alla; Copeland, Alex; Pitluck, Sam; Goodwin, Lynne A; Han, Cliff; Tapia, Roxanne; Brambilla, Evelyne-Marie; Pötter, Gabriele; Land, Miriam; Ivanova, Natalia; Rohde, Manfred; Göker, Markus; Detter, John C; Li, Wen-Jun; Kyrpides, Nikos C; Woyke, Tanja (2012-05-25)
      Saccharomonospora marina Liu et al. 2010 is a member of the genus Saccharomonospora, in the family Pseudonocardiaceae that is poorly characterized at the genome level thus far. Members of the genus Saccharomonospora are of interest because they originate from diverse habitats, such as leaf litter, manure, compost, surface of peat, moist, over-heated grain, and ocean sediment, where they might play a role in the primary degradation of plant material by attacking hemicellulose. Organisms belonging to the genus are usually Gram-positive staining, non-acid fast, and classify among the actinomycetes. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the complete genome sequence (permanent draft status), and annotation. The 5,965,593 bp long chromosome with its 5,727 protein-coding and 57 RNA genes was sequenced as part of the DOE funded Community Sequencing Program (CSP) 2010 at the Joint Genome Institute (JGI).
    • Genome sequence of the orange-pigmented seawater bacterium Owenweeksia hongkongensis type strain (UST20020801(T)).

      Riedel, Thomas; Held, Brittany; Nolan, Matt; Lucas, Susan; Lapidus, Alla; Tice, Hope; Del Rio, Tijana Glavina; Cheng, Jan-Fang; Han, Cliff; Tapia, Roxanne; Goodwin, Lynne A; Pitluck, Sam; Liolios, Konstantinos; Mavromatis, Konstantinos; Pagani, Ioanna; Ivanova, Natalia; Mikhailova, Natalia; Pati, Amrita; Chen, Amy; Palaniappan, Krishna; Rohde, Manfred; Tindall, Brian J; Detter, John C; Göker, Markus; Woyke, Tanja; Bristow, James; Eisen, Jonathan A; Markowitz, Victor; Hugenholtz, Philip; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Kyrpides, Nikos C; HZI - Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-10-10)
      Lau . 2005 is the sole member of the monospecific genus in the family a poorly characterized family at the genome level thus far. This family comprises seven genera within the class . Family members are known to be psychrotolerant, rod-shaped and orange pigmented (β-carotene), typical for . For growth, seawater and complex organic nutrients are necessary. The genome of UST20020801 is only the second genome of a member of the family whose sequence has been deciphered. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the complete genome sequence and annotation. The 4,000,057 bp long chromosome with its 3,518 protein-coding and 45 RNA genes is a part of the project.
    • Genome sequence of the soil bacterium Saccharomonospora azurea type strain (NA-128(T)).

      Klenk, Hans-Peter; Held, Brittany; Lucas, Susan; Lapidus, Alla; Copeland, Alex; Hammon, Nancy; Pitluck, Sam; Goodwin, Lynne A; Han, Cliff; Tapia, Roxanne; Brambilla, Evelyne-Marie; Pötter, Gabriele; Land, Miriam; Ivanova, Natalia; Rohde, Manfred; Göker, Markus; Detter, John C; Kyrpides, Nikos C; Woyke, Tanja (2012-05-25)
      Saccharomonospora azurea Runmao et al. 1987 is a member of the genus Saccharomonospora, which is in the family Pseudonocardiaceae and thus far poorly characterized genomically. Members of the genus Saccharomonospora are of interest because they originate from diverse habitats, such as leaf litter, manure, compost, the surface of peat, and moist and over-heated grain, and may play a role in the primary degradation of plant material by attacking hemicellulose. Next to S. viridis, S. azurea is only the second member in the genus Saccharomonospora for which a completely sequenced type strain genome will be published. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the complete genome sequence with project status 'Improved high quality draft', and the annotation. The 4,763,832 bp long chromosome with its 4,472 protein-coding and 58 RNA genes was sequenced as part of the DOE funded Community Sequencing Program (CSP) 2010 at the Joint Genome Institute (JGI).
    • Global Gene Transcriptome Analysis in Vaccinated Cattle Revealed a Dominant Role of IL-22 for Protection against Bovine Tuberculosis.

      Bhuju, Sabin; Aranday-Cortes, Elihu; Villarreal-Ramos, Bernardo; Xing, Zhou; Singh, Mahavir; Vordermeier, H Martin; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany ; Lionex Diagnostics Ltd, Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-12)
      Bovine tuberculosis (bTB) is a chronic disease of cattle caused by Mycobacterium bovis, a member of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex group of bacteria. Vaccination of cattle might offer a long-term solution for controlling the disease and priority has been given to the development of a cattle vaccine against bTB. Identification of biomarkers in tuberculosis research remains elusive and the goal is to identify host correlates of protection. We hypothesized that by studying global gene expression we could identify in vitro predictors of protection that could help to facilitate vaccine development. Calves were vaccinated with BCG or with a heterologous BCG prime adenovirally vectored subunit boosting protocol. Protective efficacy was determined after M. bovis challenge. RNA was prepared from PPD-stimulated PBMC prepared from vaccinated-protected, vaccinated-unprotected and unvaccinated control cattle prior to M. bovis challenge and global gene expression determined by RNA-seq. 668 genes were differentially expressed in vaccinated-protected cattle compared with vaccinated-unprotected and unvaccinated control cattle. Cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction was the most significant pathway related to this dataset with IL-22 expression identified as the dominant surrogate of protection besides INF-γ. Finally, the expression of these candidate genes identified by RNA-seq was evaluated by RT-qPCR in an independent set of PBMC samples from BCG vaccinated and unvaccinated calves. This experiment confirmed the importance of IL-22 as predictor of vaccine efficacy.
    • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase of Streptococcus pneumoniae Is a Surface-Displayed Plasminogen-Binding Protein

      Bergmann, Simone; Rohde, Manfred; Hammerschmidt, Sven (American Society for Microbiology, 2004-04)
    • Growth of Pseudomonas chloritidismutans AW-1(T) on n-alkanes with chlorate as electron acceptor.

      Mehboob, Farrakh; Junca, Howard; Schraa, Gosse; Stams, Alfons J M; Wageningen University, The Netherlands. (2009-06)
      Microbial (per)chlorate reduction is a unique process in which molecular oxygen is formed during the dismutation of chlorite. The oxygen thus formed may be used to degrade hydrocarbons by means of oxygenases under seemingly anoxic conditions. Up to now, no bacterium has been described that grows on aliphatic hydrocarbons with chlorate. Here, we report that Pseudomonas chloritidismutans AW-1(T) grows on n-alkanes (ranging from C7 until C12) with chlorate as electron acceptor. Strain AW-1(T) also grows on the intermediates of the presumed n-alkane degradation pathway. The specific growth rates on n-decane and chlorate and n-decane and oxygen were 0.5 +/- 0.1 and 0.4 +/- 0.02 day(-1), respectively. The key enzymes chlorate reductase and chlorite dismutase were assayed and found to be present. The oxygen-dependent alkane oxidation was demonstrated in whole-cell suspensions. The strain degrades n-alkanes with oxygen and chlorate but not with nitrate, thus suggesting that the strain employs oxygenase-dependent pathways for the breakdown of n-alkanes.
    • Highly stable monodisperse PEGylated iron oxide nanoparticle aqueous suspensions: a nontoxic tracer for homogeneous magnetic bioassays.

      Lak, Aidin; Dieckhoff, Jan; Ludwig, Frank; Scholtyssek, Jan M; Goldmann, Oliver; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Eberbeck, Dietmar; Kornowski, Andreas; Kraken, Mathias; Litterst, F J; Fiege, Kathrin; Mischnick, Petra; Schilling, Meinhard; TU Braunschweig, Institute of Electrical Measurement and Fundamental Electrical Engineering, Hans-Sommer-St. 66, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. a.lak@tu-bs.de f.ludwig@tu-bs.de. (2013-11-07)
      Uniformly sized and shaped iron oxide nanoparticles with a mean size of 25 nm were synthesized via decomposition of iron-oleate. High resolution transmission electron microscopy and Mössbauer spectroscopy investigations revealed that the particles are spheres primarily composed of Fe3O4 with a small fraction of FeO. From Mössbauer and static magnetization measurements, it was deduced that the particles are superparamagnetic at room temperature. The hydrophobic particles were successfully transferred into water via PEGylation using nitrodopamine as an anchoring group. IR spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis showed the success and efficiency of the phase transfer reaction. After PEGylation, the particles retained monodispersity and their magnetic core remained intact as proven by photon cross-correlation spectroscopy, ac susceptibility, and transmission electron microscopy. The particle aqueous suspensions revealed excellent water stability over a month of monitoring and also against temperature up to 40 °C. The particles exhibited a moderate cytotoxic effect on in vitro cultured bone marrow-derived macrophages and no release of inflammatory or anti-inflammatory cytokines. The PEGylated particles were functionalized with Herceptin antibodies via a conjugation chemistry, their response to a rotating magnetic field was studied using a fluxgate-based setup and was compared with the one recorded for hydrophobic and PEGylated particles. The particle phase lag rose after labeling with Herceptin, indicating the successful conjugation of Herceptin antibodies to the particles.
    • Host-derived extracellular RNA promotes adhesion of Streptococcus pneumoniae to endothelial and epithelial cells.

      Zakrzewicz, Dariusz; Bergmann, Simone; Didiasova, Miroslava; Giaimo, Benedetto Daniele; Borggrefe, Tilman; Mieth, Maren; Hocke, Andreas C; Lochnit, Guenter; Schaefer, Liliana; Hammerschmidt, Sven; Preissner, Klaus T; Wygrecka, Malgorzata; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-11-28)
      Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most frequent cause of community-acquired pneumonia. The infection process involves bacterial cell surface receptors, which interact with host extracellular matrix components to facilitate colonization and dissemination of bacteria. Here, we investigated the role of host-derived extracellular RNA (eRNA) in the process of pneumococcal alveolar epithelial cell infection. Our study demonstrates that eRNA dose-dependently increased S. pneumoniae invasion of alveolar epithelial cells. Extracellular enolase (Eno), a plasminogen (Plg) receptor, was identified as a novel eRNA-binding protein on S. pneumoniae surface, and six Eno eRNA-binding sites including a C-terminal 15 amino acid motif containing lysine residue 434 were characterized. Although the substitution of lysine 434 for glycine (K434G) markedly diminished the binding of eRNA to Eno, the adherence to and internalization into alveolar epithelial cells of S. pneumoniae strain carrying the C-terminal lysine deletion and the mutation of internal Plg-binding motif were only marginally impaired. Accordingly, using a mass spectrometric approach, we identified seven novel eRNA-binding proteins in pneumococcal cell wall. Given the high number of eRNA-interacting proteins on pneumococci, treatment with RNase1 completely inhibited eRNA-mediated pneumococcal alveolar epithelial cell infection. Our data support further efforts to employ RNAse1 as an antimicrobial agent to combat pneumococcal infectious diseases.
    • Host-pathogen interactions in streptococcal immune sequelae.

      Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. Patric.Nitsche@helmholtz-hzi.de (2013)
      Otherwise uncomplicated infections with Streptococcus pyogenes can cause two insidious immune sequelae known as post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (PSGN) and acute rheumatic fever (ARF). These diseases follow with a latency of a few weeks or months after primary infection and are responsible for high mortality and morbidity. PSGN has also been linked to infections with group C streptococci of the species S. equi ssp. zooepidemicus (SESZ). Moreover, there are some indications that infection with group C and G streptococci (GCGS) of the subspecies Streptococcus dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis (SDSE) leads to ARF. Despite decades of research, the picture of the molecular pathogenesis of streptococcal immune sequelae resembles a jigsaw puzzle. Herein we try to put some of the puzzle bits together that have been collected till date.
    • Hydrogen Peroxide-Mediated Killing of Caenorhabditis elegans by Streptococcus pyogenes

      Jansen, W. T. M.; Bolm, M.; Balling, R.; Chhatwal, G. S.; Schnabel, R. (American Society for Microbiology, 2002-09)
    • Hydrogen Peroxide-Mediated Killing of Caenorhabditis elegans: a Common Feature of Different Streptococcal Species

      Bolm, Maike; Jansen, Wouter T. M.; Schnabel, Ralf; Chhatwal, Gursharan S. (American Society for Microbiology, 2004-02)
    • Identification of a streptococcal octapeptide motif involved in acute rheumatic fever.

      Dinkla, Katrin; Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Barroso, Vanessa; Reissmann, Silvana; Johansson, Helena M; Frick, Inga-Maria; Rohde, Manfred; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-06-29)
      Acute rheumatic fever is a serious autoimmune sequela of pharyngitis caused by certain group A streptococci. One mechanism applied by streptococcal strains capable of causing acute rheumatic fever is formation of an autoantigenic complex with human collagen IV. In some geographic regions with a high incidence of acute rheumatic fever pharyngeal carriage of group C and group G streptococci prevails. Examination of such strains revealed the presence of M-like surface proteins that bind human collagen. Using a peptide array and recombinant proteins with targeted amino acid substitutions, we could demonstrate that formation of collagen complexes during streptococcal infections depends on an octapeptide motif, which is present in collagen binding M and M-like proteins of different beta-hemolytic streptococcal species. Mice immunized with streptococcal proteins that contain the collagen binding octapeptide motif developed high serum titers of anti-collagen antibodies. In sera of rheumatic fever patients such a collagen autoimmune response was accompanied by specific reactivity against the collagen-binding proteins, linking the observed effect to clinical cases. Taken together, the data demonstrate that the identified octapeptide motif through its action on collagen plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of rheumatic fever. Eradication of streptococci that express proteins with the collagen binding motif appears advisable for controlling rheumatic fever.