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Infect Immun. 2002 Jun;70(6):2805-11.

The in vitro interaction of Streptococcus pyogenes with human pharyngeal cells induces a phage-encoded extracellular DNase.

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Department of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology, Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The role lysogenic bacteriophage play in the pathogenesis of the host bacterium is poorly understood. In a previous study, we found that streptococcal coculture with human pharyngeal cells resulted in the induction of lysogenic bacteriophage as well as the phage-associated streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin C (SpeC). In this study, we have determined that in addition to SpeC induction, a number of other streptococcal proteins are also released by the bacteria during coculture with pharyngeal cells. Among these, we identified and characterized a novel 27-kDa secreted protein. Sequence analysis of this novel protein demonstrated it to be encoded by the same lysogenic bacteriophage which harbors speC. Protein sequence analysis revealed varied homologies with several streptococcal DNases. Further biochemical characterization of the recombinantly expressed protein verified it to be a divalent cation-dependent streptococcal phage-encoded DNase (Spd1). Although functionally distinct, SpeC and Spd1 are associated by a number of parameters, including genetic proximity and transcriptional regulation. Finally, we speculate on the induction of phage-encoded DNase (Spd1) enhancing the fitness of both bacteria and phage.

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