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Med Microbiol Immunol. 2012 Aug;201(3):357-69. doi: 10.1007/s00430-012-0241-6. Epub 2012 May 18.

Synergistic effects of streptolysin S and streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin B on the mouse model of group A streptococcal infection.

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Institute of Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering, I-Shou University, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.


Streptococcus pyogenes is a group A streptococcus (GAS) and an important human pathogen that causes a variety of diseases. Streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin B (SPE B) and streptolysin S (SLS) are important virulence factors involved in GAS infection, but it is not clear which one is more virulent. Using an air pouch infection model, the wild-type strain NZ131, its isogenic mutants, and complementary mutants were used to examine the effects of SPE B and SLS on GAS infection. The results of the skin lesion and mouse mortality assays showed that although SPE B and SLS had a synergistic effect on GAS infection, SPE B played a more important role in local tissue damage while SLS had a more prominent effect on mouse mortality. Surveys of the exudates from the air pouch revealed that the expression of inflammatory cytokines was significantly inhibited in the sagB/speB-double-mutant JM4-infected mice. Furthermore, in vivo and in vitro studies showed that the isogenic mutant strains were more susceptible to the immune cell killing than the wild-type strain and that the sagB/speB-double-mutant JM4 was the most sensitive among these strains. Moreover, infection with the sagB/speB-double-mutant JM4 strain caused the least amount of macrophage apoptosis compared to infection with the wild-type NZ131 and the other complementary strains, which express only SPE B or SLS or both. Taken together, these results indicate that both SPE B and SLS contributed to GAS evasion from immune cell killing, local tissue damage, and mouse mortality.

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