• Contribution of plasminogen activation towards the pathogenic potential of oral streptococci.

      Itzek, Andreas; Gillen, Christine M; Fulde, Marcus; Friedrichs, Claudia; Rodloff, Arne C; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Nitsche-Schmitz, Daniel Patric; Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010)
      Oral streptococci are a heterogeneous group of human commensals, with a potential to cause serious infections. Activation of plasminogen has been shown to increase the virulence of typical human pathogenic streptococci such as S. pneumoniae. One important factor for plasminogen activation is the streptococcal α-enolase. Here we report that plasminogen activation is also common in oral streptococci species involved in clinical infection and that it depends on the action of human plasminogen activators. The ability to activate plasminogen did not require full conservation of the internal plasminogen binding sequence motif FYDKERKVY of α-enolase that was previously described as crucial for increased plasminogen binding, activation and virulence. Instead, experiments with recombinant α-enolase variants indicate that the naturally occurring variations do not impair plasminogen binding. In spite of these variations in the internal plasminogen binding motif oral streptococci showed similar activation of plasminogen. We conclude that the pathomechanism of plasminogen activation is conserved in oral streptococci that cause infections in human. This may contribute to their opportunistic pathogenic character that is unfurled in certain niches.
    • Rapid identification of viridans streptococci by mass spectrometric discrimination.

      Friedrichs, C; Rodloff, A C; Chhatwal, G S; Schellenberger, W; Eschrich, K; Institute for Medical Microbiology and Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases, University of Leipzig, Liebigstr. 24, D-04105 Leipzig, Germany. claudia.friedrichs@medizin.uni-leipzig.de (2007-08)
      Viridans streptococci (VS) are responsible for several systemic diseases, such as endocarditis, abscesses, and septicemia. Unfortunately, species identification by conventional methods seems to be more difficult than species identification of other groups of bacteria. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the use of cell matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) for the rapid identification of 10 different species of VS. A total of 99 VS clinical isolates, 10 reference strains, and 20 strains from our in-house culture collection were analyzed by MALDI-TOF-MS. To evaluate the mass-spectrometric discrimination results, all strains were identified in parallel by phenotypic and genotypic methods. MALDI-TOF-MS identified 71 isolates as the mitis group, 23 as the anginosus group, and 5 as Streptococcus salivarius. Comparison of the species identification results obtained by the MALDI-TOF-MS analyses and with the phenotypic/genotypic identification systems showed 100% consistency at the species level. Thus, MALDI-TOF-MS seems to be a rapid and reliable method for the identification of species of VS from clinical samples.