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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2000 Feb 15;183(2):201-7.

Hyaluronidases of Gram-positive bacteria.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA.


Bacterial hyaluronidases, enzymes capable of breaking down hyaluronate, are produced by a number of pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria that initiate infections at the skin or mucosal surfaces. Since reports of the hyaluronidases first appeared, there have been numerous suggestions as to the role of the enzyme in the disease process. Unlike some of the other more well studied virulence factors, much of the information on the role of hyaluronidase is speculative, with little or no data to substantiate proposed roles. Over the last 5 years, a number of these enzymes from Gram-positive organisms have been cloned, and the nucleotide sequence determined. Phylogenetic analysis, using the deduced amino acid sequences of the Gram-positive hyaluronidases, suggests a relatedness among some of the enzymes. Molecular advances may lead to a more thorough understanding of the role of hyaluronidases in bacterial physiology and pathogenesis.

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