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Microbiology. 2006 Feb;152(Pt 2):313-21.

Zinc metalloproteinase genes in clinical isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae: association of the full array with a clonal cluster comprising serotypes 8 and 11A.

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Dipartimento di Malattie Infettive, Parassitarie e Immunomediate, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.


Pneumococci display large zinc metalloproteinases on the surface, including the IgA protease, which cleaves human IgA1 in the hinge region, the ZmpC proteinase, which cleaves human matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP-9), and two other proteinases, ZmpB and ZmpD, whose substrates have not yet been identified. Surface metalloproteinases are antigenic and have been linked to virulence. The genes encoding these proteinases reside in three distinct loci: two loci specific for zmpB and zmpC, and a third, the iga locus, containing iga and zmpD. Data obtained by this and other groups have shown that pneumococcal metalloproteinase genes are transcribed and yield mature and enzymatically active proteins. Since the presence of the four proteinase genes is variable in the pneumococcal strains whose genomes have been sequenced, the presence of these genes in a collection of 218 pneumococcal isolates, mostly from invasive disease, was investigated. The data showed that zmpB and iga were present in all the isolates examined, while zmpC and zmpD were present in a variable proportion of the isolates (in 18 and 49 %, respectively). Interestingly, isolates carrying both zmpC and zmpD were found to belong mainly to two serotypes (sts), 8 and 11A. By molecular typing, st 8 and st 11A isolates appeared to belong to the same clonal cluster. The presence of these two additional metalloproteinases could contribute to the fitness of particular pneumococcal clones.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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