• Variability in the distribution of genes encoding virulence factors and putative extracellular proteins of Streptococcus pyogenes in India, a region with high streptococcal disease burden, and implication for development of a regional multisubunit vaccine.

      Sagar, Vivek; Bergmann, René; Nerlich, Andreas; McMillan, David J; Nitsche Schmitz, D Patric; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-11)
      Streptococcus pyogenes causes a wide variety of human diseases and is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Attempts to develop a vaccine were hampered by the genetic diversity of S. pyogenes across different regions of the world. This study sought to identify streptococcal antigens suitable for a region-specific vaccine in India. We used a two-step approach, first performing epidemiological analysis to identify the conserved antigens among Indian isolates. The second step consisted of validating the identified antigens by serological analysis. The 201 streptococcal clinical isolates from India used in this study represented 69 different emm types, with emm12 being the most prevalent. Virulence profiling of the North and South Indian S. pyogenes isolates with a custom-designed streptococcal virulence microarray identified seven conserved putative vaccine candidates. Collagen-like surface protein (SCI), putative secreted 5'-nucleotidase (PSNT), and C5a peptidase were found in 100% of the isolates, while R28, a putative surface antigen (PSA), and a hypothetical protein (HYP) were found in 90% of the isolates. A fibronectin binding protein, SfbI, was present in only 78% of the isolates. In order to validate the identified potential vaccine candidates, 185 serum samples obtained from patients with different clinical manifestations were tested for antibodies. Irrespective of clinical manifestations, serum samples showed high antibody titers to all proteins except for SCI and R28. Thus, the data indicate that PSNT, C5a peptidase, PSA, HYP, and SfbI are promising candidates for a region-specific streptococcal vaccine for the different parts of India.
    • Virulence gene pool detected in bovine group C Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. dysgalactiae isolates by use of a group A S. pyogenes virulence microarray.

      Rato, Márcia G; Nerlich, Andreas; Bergmann, René; Bexiga, Ricardo; Nunes, Sandro F; Vilela, Cristina L; Santos-Sanches, Ilda; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Centro de Recursos Microbiológicos, Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal. (2011-07)
      A custom-designed microarray containing 220 virulence genes of Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus [GAS]) was used to test group C Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. dysgalactiae (GCS) field strains causing bovine mastitis and group C or group G Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (GCS/GGS) isolates from human infections, with the latter being used for comparative purposes, for the presence of virulence genes. All bovine and all human isolates carried a fraction of the 220 genes (23% and 39%, respectively). The virulence genes encoding streptolysin S, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, the plasminogen-binding M-like protein PAM, and the collagen-like protein SclB were detected in the majority of both bovine and human isolates (94 to 100%). Virulence factors, usually carried by human beta-hemolytic streptococcal pathogens, such as streptokinase, laminin-binding protein, and the C5a peptidase precursor, were detected in all human isolates but not in bovine isolates. Additionally, GAS bacteriophage-associated virulence genes encoding superantigens, DNase, and/or streptodornase were detected in bovine isolates (72%) but not in the human isolates. Determinants located in non-bacteriophage-related mobile elements, such as the gene encoding R28, were detected in all bovine and human isolates. Several virulence genes, including genes of bacteriophage origin, were shown to be expressed by reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). Phylogenetic analysis of superantigen gene sequences revealed a high level (>98%) of identity among genes of bovine GCS, of the horse pathogen Streptococcus equi subsp. equi, and of the human pathogen GAS. Our findings indicate that alpha-hemolytic bovine GCS, an important mastitis pathogen and considered to be a nonhuman pathogen, carries important virulence factors responsible for virulence and pathogenesis in humans.