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Mol Microbiol. 1994 Aug;13(3):531-9.

Domain structure and conserved epitopes of Sfb protein, the fibronectin-binding adhesin of Streptococcus pyogenes.

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Department of Microbiology, Technical University Braunschweig/GBF-National Research Centre for Biotechnology, Germany.


Streptococcus pyogenes expresses a fibronectin-binding surface protein (Sfb protein) which mediates adherence to human epithelial cells. The nucleotide sequence of the sfb gene was determined and the primary sequence of the Sfb protein was analysed. The protein consists of 638 amino acids and comprises five structurally distinct domains. The protein starts with an N-terminal signal peptide followed by an aromatic domain. The central part of the protein is formed by four proline-rich repeats which are flanked by non-repetitive spacer sequences. A second repeat region, consisting of four repeats that are distinct from the proline repeats and have been shown to form the fibronectin-binding domain, is located in the C-terminal part of the protein. The protein ends with a typical cell wall and membrane anchor region. Comparative sequence analysis of the N-terminal aromatic domain revealed similarities with carbohydrate-binding sites of other proteins. The proline repeat region of the Sfb protein shares characteristic features with proline-rich repeats of functionally distinct surface proteins from pathogenic Gram-positive cocci. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed an even distribution of the fibronectin-binding domain of Sfb protein on the surface of streptococcal cells. Analyses of 38 sfb genes originating from different S. pyogenes isolates revealed primary sequence variability in regions coding for the N-termini of mature Sfb proteins, whereas sequences coding for the central and C-terminal repeats were highly conserved. The repeat sequences are postulated to act as target sites for intragenic recombination events that result in variable numbers of repeats within the different sfb genes. A model of the Sfb protein is presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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