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Med Microbiol Immunol. 2015 Apr;204(2):227-37. doi: 10.1007/s00430-014-0363-0. Epub 2014 Nov 9.

Streptolysin S of Streptococcus anginosus exhibits broad-range hemolytic activity.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene, University of Ulm, Albert-Einstein-Allee 11, 89081, Ulm, Germany.


Streptococcus anginosus is a commensal of mucous membranes and an emerging human pathogen. Some strains, including the type strain, display a prominent β-hemolytic phenotype. A gene cluster (sag), encoding a variant of streptolysin S (SLS) has recently been identified as the genetic background for β-hemolysin production in S. anginosus. In this study, we further characterized the hemolytic and cytolytic activity of the S. anginosus hemolysin in comparison with other streptococcal hemolysins. The results indicate that SLS of S. anginosus is a broad-range hemolysin able to lyse erythrocytes of different species, including horse, bovine, rabbit and even chicken. The hemolytic activity is temperature dependent, and a down-regulation of the hemolysin expression is induced in the presence of high glucose levels. Survival assays indicate that in contrast to other streptococcal species, S. anginosus does not require SLS for survival in the presence of human granulocytes. Cross-complementation studies using the sagB and sagD genes of Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis demonstrated functional similarities to the S. anginosus SLS. Nevertheless, distinct differences to other streptolysin S variants were noted and provide further insights into the molecular mechanisms of SLS pathogen host interactions.

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