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J Infect Dis. 2000 Jul;182(1):142-9. Epub 2000 Jun 30.

Cross-protection between group A and group B streptococci due to cross-reacting surface proteins.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, Lund University, S-22362 Lund, Sweden. margaretha.stahlhammar-carlemalm@mig.lu.se


The R28 protein of group A streptococcus (GAS) and the Rib protein of group B streptococcus (GBS) are surface molecules that elicit protective immunity to experimental infection. These proteins are members of the same family and cross-react immunologically. In spite of extensive amino acid residue identity, the cross-reactivity between R28 and Rib was found to be limited, as shown by analysis with highly purified proteins and specific antisera. Nevertheless, immunization of mice with purified R28 conferred protection against lethal infection with Rib-expressing GBS strains, and immunization with Rib conferred protection against R28-expressing GAS. Thus, R28 and Rib elicited cross-protective immunity. Characterization of many clinical GAS and GBS isolates expressing R28 or Rib, respectively, indicated that most of them expressed proteins similar to those of the reference strains. Analysis of these data suggests that cross-protection may influence the outcome of natural infections with R28-expressing GAS and Rib-expressing GBS.

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