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J Infect Dis. 2005 Sep 1;192(5):771-82. Epub 2005 Jul 29.

Evolutionary origin and emergence of a highly successful clone of serotype M1 group a Streptococcus involved multiple horizontal gene transfer events.

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Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis, Rocky Mountain Laboratories, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana, USA.


To better understand the molecular events involved in the origin of new pathogenic bacteria, we studied the evolution of a highly virulent clone of serotype M1 group A Streptococcus (GAS). Genomic, DNA-DNA microarray, and single-nucleotide polymorphism analyses indicated that this clone evolved through a series of horizontal gene transfer events that involved (1) the acquisition of prophages encoding streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin A and extracellular DNases and (2) the reciprocal recombination of a 36-kb chromosomal region encoding the extracellular toxins NAD+-glycohydrolase (NADase) and streptolysin O (SLO). These gene transfer events were associated with significantly increased production of SLO and NADase. Virtual identity in the 36-kb region present in contemporary serotype M1 and M12 isolates suggests that a serotype M12 strain served as the donor of this region. Multiple horizontal gene transfer events were a crucial factor in the evolutionary origin and emergence of a very abundant contemporary clone of serotype M1 GAS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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