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J Med Microbiol. 2010 Apr;59(Pt 4):442-52. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.013581-0. Epub 2009 Dec 10.

Typing of the pilus-protein-encoding FCT region and biofilm formation as novel parameters in epidemiological investigations of Streptococcus pyogenes isolates from various infection sites.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Hospital, Schillingallee 70, D-18057 Rostock, Germany.


Streptococcus pyogenes is an important human pathogen for which an association between infection site and selected epidemiological or functional markers has previously been suggested. However, the studies involved often used strains with an insufficiently defined clinical background and laboratory history. Thus, the major goal of the present study was to investigate these relationships in 183 prospectively collected, well-defined, low-passage isolates from a North-East German centre for tertiary care. For each isolate the clinical background (91 respiratory, 71 skin and 21 invasive isolates) and antibiotic-resistance pattern was recorded. All isolates were classified according to their emm type, antibiotic-resistance and PFGE pattern ( SmaI restriction analysis of genomic DNA). As novel discriminatory methods we performed a PCR-based typing of the pilus-protein-encoding FCT region (FCT) and biofilm-formation phenotyping in various culture media. Forty-one isolates were found to be resistant to at least one of the tested antibiotics. emm typing revealed emm28, emm12 , emm1, emm4, emm89 and emm2 as the most frequent types in our collection. The novel FCT typing showed isolates encoding FCT types 4 and 2 to be the most common. Overall 113 strains with unique combinations of emm and FCT types, antibiotic-resistance and PFGE patterns were identified. The majority of all isolates revealed an association of biofilm-formation capacity with growth media. Comparing all results for potential associations, no correlation could be established between the anatomical site of isolation and the emm or the FCT type. There was no relationship between biofilm formation and emm type, antibiotic-resistance or PFGE patterns. However, a novel association between biofilm formation and FCT type became obvious among strains from our collection.

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