• Biological functions of GCS3, a novel plasminogen-binding protein of Streptococcus dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis.

      Bergmann, René; Dinkla, Katrin; Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Graham, Rikki M A; Lüttge, Melanie; Sanderson-Smith, Martina L; Nerlich, Andreas; Rohde, Manfred; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Dept. of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-02)
      Increasing awareness of the relevance of Streptococcus dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis as a human pathogen motivates the analysis of its pathomechanisms. One of the mechanisms that increases infectivity and dissemination of several streptococcal species is the recruitment and subsequent activation of host plasminogen on the streptococcal surface. This study identified GCS3 as a novel plasminogen-binding M protein of S. dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis and revealed a difference in the mode of binding as compared to the plasminogen-binding protein PAM of S. pyogenes. In contrast to PAM, GCS3 did not bind to the kringle 1-3 region of plasminogen. Despite this difference, GCS3 exerts the same function of recruiting plasminogen to the streptococcal surface, which can be activated by streptokinase and host plasminogen activators to serve as a spreading factor. Moreover, we demonstrate a role of GCS3 in plasminogen-dependent streptococcal adherence to human pharyngeal cells (cell line Detroit 562) that indicates an additional function of the protein as an adhesin in the oral cavity.
    • Genetic variation in group A streptococci.

      McMillan, David J; Sriprakash, Kadaba S; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-11)
      Group A streptococcus (GAS) is responsible for a range of human diseases that vary in their clinical manifestations and severity. While numerous virulence factors have been described, the way these factors interact to promote different streptococcal diseases is less clear. In order to identify multifactorial relationships between GAS and the human host, novel high-throughput techniques such as microarrays are necessary. We have performed comparative studies using custom-designed virulence arrays to enhance our understanding of the high degree of genotypic variation that occurs in streptococci. This study has pointed to mobile genetic elements as the major agents that promote variation. Our results show that multiple combinations of genes might bring about similar clinical pictures. This adds further complexity to the intricate relationship between pathogen and host.