• Clinical and microbiologic characteristics of invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections in north and south India.

      Haggar, Axana; Nerlich, Andreas; Kumar, Rajesh; Abraham, Vinod J; Brahmadathan, Kootallur N; Ray, Pallab; Dhanda, Vanita; Joshua, John Melbin Jose; Mehra, Narinder; Bergmann, Rene; et al. (2012-05)
      The lack of epidemiologic data on invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections in many developing countries is concerning, as S. pyogenes infections are commonly endemic in these areas. Here we present the results of the first prospective surveillance study of invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections in India. Fifty-four patients with invasive S. pyogenes infections were prospectively enrolled at two study sites, one in the north and one in the south of India. Sterile-site isolates were collected, and clinical information was documented using a standardized questionnaire. Available acute-phase sera were tested for their ability to inhibit superantigens produced by the patient's own isolate using a cell-based neutralizing assay. The most common clinical presentations were bacteremia without focus (30%), pneumonia (28%), and cellulitis (17%). Only two cases of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and no cases of necrotizing fasciitis were identified. Characterization of the isolates revealed great heterogeneity, with 32 different emm subtypes and 29 different superantigen gene profiles being represented among the 49 sterile-site isolates. Analyses of acute-phase sera showed that only 20% of the cases in the north cohort had superantigen-neutralizing activity in their sera, whereas 50% of the cases from the south site had neutralizing activity. The results demonstrate that there are important differences in both clinical presentation and strain characteristics between invasive S. pyogenes infections in India and invasive S. pyogenes infections in Western countries. The findings underscore the importance of epidemiologic studies on streptococcal infections in India and have direct implications for current vaccine developments.
    • Identification of a streptococcal octapeptide motif involved in acute rheumatic fever.

      Dinkla, Katrin; Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Barroso, Vanessa; Reissmann, Silvana; Johansson, Helena M; Frick, Inga-Maria; Rohde, Manfred; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-06-29)
      Acute rheumatic fever is a serious autoimmune sequela of pharyngitis caused by certain group A streptococci. One mechanism applied by streptococcal strains capable of causing acute rheumatic fever is formation of an autoantigenic complex with human collagen IV. In some geographic regions with a high incidence of acute rheumatic fever pharyngeal carriage of group C and group G streptococci prevails. Examination of such strains revealed the presence of M-like surface proteins that bind human collagen. Using a peptide array and recombinant proteins with targeted amino acid substitutions, we could demonstrate that formation of collagen complexes during streptococcal infections depends on an octapeptide motif, which is present in collagen binding M and M-like proteins of different beta-hemolytic streptococcal species. Mice immunized with streptococcal proteins that contain the collagen binding octapeptide motif developed high serum titers of anti-collagen antibodies. In sera of rheumatic fever patients such a collagen autoimmune response was accompanied by specific reactivity against the collagen-binding proteins, linking the observed effect to clinical cases. Taken together, the data demonstrate that the identified octapeptide motif through its action on collagen plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of rheumatic fever. Eradication of streptococci that express proteins with the collagen binding motif appears advisable for controlling rheumatic fever.