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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 1999 Mar;23(3):195-204.

Comparison of adherence to and penetration of a human laryngeal epithelial cell line by group A streptococci of various M protein types.

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University of Washington, School of Medicine, Seattle, USA.


Clinically isolated group A streptococci (GAS) of different M protein types were studied using aminoglycoside exclusion and [2,8-3H]adenine radiolabeled GAS assays to compare the abilities of different strains to adhere to and internalize within human laryngeal epithelial (HEp-2) cells. GAS isolated from patients with pharyngitis and GAS isolated from patients with more severe disease, such as necrotizing fasciitis, adhered to and penetrated HEp-2 cells equally well. M3, M4, M6, and M12 strains adhered to and were internalized within HEp-2 cells more than M1 strains. M18 GAS producing hyaluronic acid capsules were less adherent and less invasive than the M3, M4, M6, and M12 strains. An M3-producing GAS strain and its M protein-deficient isogenic strain adhered similarly to HEp-2 cells, but the M protein-deficient strain exhibited greater penetration. Preincubation of HEp-2 cells with an N-terminal synthetic M3 peptide did not alter the adherence or penetration by an M3 strain. In summary, this study demonstrates that GAS from invasive and non-invasive disease adhere to and penetrate HEp-2 cells equally well and that multiple strains of GAS with various M protein types have the ability to adhere to and penetrate HEp-2 cells.

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