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Cell Microbiol. 2004 Sep;6(9):867-81.

Non-encapsulated strains reveal novel insights in invasion and survival of Streptococcus suis in epithelial cells.

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Institut fuer Mikrobiologie, Zentrum fuer Infektionsmedizin, Stiftung Tieraerztliche Hochschule Hannover, Germany.


Streptococcus suis is a porcine and human pathogen causing invasive diseases, such as meningitis or septicaemia. Host cell interactions of S. suis have been studied mainly with serotype 2 strains, but multiple capsular serotypes as well as non-typeable strains exist with diverse virulence features. At present, S. suis is considered an extracellular pathogen. However, whether or not it can also invade host cells is a matter of controversial discussions. We have assessed adherence and invasion of S. suis for HEp-2 epithelial cells by comparing 10 serotype 2 strains and four non-typeable (NT) strains. Only the NT strains and a non-encapsulated serotype 2 mutant strain, but none of the serotype 2 strains, adhered strongly and were invasive. Invasion seemed to be affected by environmental signals, as suggested from comparison of strains grown in different media. Further phenotypic and genotypic characterization revealed a high diversity among the different strains. Electron microscopic analysis of invasion of selected invasive NT strains indicated different uptake mechanisms. One strain induced large invaginations comparable to those seen in 'caveolae' mediated uptake, whereas invasion of the other strains was accompanied by formation of filipodia-like membrane protrusions. Invasion of all strains, however, was similarly susceptible to hypertonic sucrose, which inhibits receptor-mediated endocytosis. Irrespective of the uptake pathway, streptococci resided in acidified phago-lysosome like vacuoles. All strains, except one, survived intracellularly as well as extracellular acidic conditions. Survival seemed to be associated with the AdiS protein, an environmentally regulated arginine deiminase of S. suis. Concluding, invasion and survival of NT strains of S. suis in epithelial cells revealed novel evidence that S. suis exhibits a broad variety of virulence-associated features depending on genetic variation and regulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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