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Infect Immun. 2009 Nov;77(11):4966-75. doi: 10.1128/IAI.00760-09. Epub 2009 Aug 24.

Comprehensive evaluation of Streptococcus sanguinis cell wall-anchored proteins in early infective endocarditis.

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The Philips Institute of Oral and Craniofacial Molecular Biology, Richmond, VA 23298-0566, USA.


Streptococcus sanguinis is a member of the viridans group of streptococci and a leading cause of the life-threatening endovascular disease infective endocarditis. Initial contact with the cardiac infection site is likely mediated by S. sanguinis surface proteins. In an attempt to identify the proteins required for this crucial step in pathogenesis, we searched for surface-exposed, cell wall-anchored proteins encoded by S. sanguinis and then used a targeted signature-tagged mutagenesis (STM) approach to evaluate their contributions to virulence. Thirty-three predicted cell wall-anchored proteins were identified-a number much larger than those found in related species. The requirement of each cell wall-anchored protein for infective endocarditis was assessed in the rabbit model. It was found that no single cell wall-anchored protein was essential for the development of early infective endocarditis. STM screening was also employed for the evaluation of three predicted sortase transpeptidase enzymes, which mediate the cell surface presentation of cell wall-anchored proteins. The sortase A mutant exhibited a modest (approximately 2-fold) reduction in competitiveness, while the other two sortase mutants were indistinguishable from the parental strain. The combined results suggest that while cell wall-anchored proteins may play a role in S. sanguinis infective endocarditis, strategies designed to interfere with individual cell wall-anchored proteins or sortases would not be effective for disease prevention.

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