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Pathogenicity Factors in Group C and G Streptococci

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  • Authors: Claire E. Turner1, Laura Bubba2,3, Androulla Efstratiou4
  • Editors: Vincent A. Fischetti5, Richard P. Novick6, Joseph J. Ferretti7, Daniel A. Portnoy8, Miriam Braunstein9, Julian I. Rood10
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology, The Florey Institute, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK; 2: Reference Microbiology Division, National Infection Service, Public Health England, London, United Kingdom; 3: European Programme for Public Health Microbiology Training (EUPHEM), European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Stockholm, Sweden; 4: Reference Microbiology Division, National Infection Service, Public Health England, London, United Kingdom; 5: The Rockefeller University, New York, NY; 6: Skirball Institute for Molecular Medicine, NYU Medical Center, New York, NY; 7: Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, OK; 8: Department of Molecular and Cellular Microbiology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; 9: Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; 10: Infection and Immunity Program, Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia
  • Source: microbiolspec May 2019 vol. 7 no. 3 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0020-2018
  • Received 02 February 2018 Accepted 15 November 2018 Published 17 May 2019
  • Androulla Efstratiou, [email protected]
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  • Abstract:

    Initially recognized zoonoses, streptococci belonging to Lancefield group C (GCS) and G (GGS) were subsequently recognised as human pathogens causing a diverse range of symptoms, from asymptomatic carriage to life threatening diseases. Their taxonomy has changed during the last decade. Asymptomatic carriage is <4% amongst the human population and invasive infections are often in association with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or chronic skin infections. Other clinical manifestations include acute pharyngitis, pneumonia, endocarditis, bacteraemia and toxic-shock syndrome. Post streptococcal sequalae such as rheumatic fever and acute glomerulonephritis have also been described but mainly in developed countries and amongst specific populations. Putative virulence determinants for these organisms include adhesins, toxins, and other factors that are essential for dissemination in human tissues and for interference with the host immune responses. High nucleotide similarities among virulence genes and their association with mobile genetic elements supports the hypothesis of extensive horizontal gene transfer events between the various pyogenic streptococcal species belonging to Lancefield groups A, C and G. A better understanding of the mechanisms of pathogenesis should be apparent by whole-genome sequencing, and this would result in more effective clinical strategies for the pyogenic group in general.

  • Citation: Turner C, Bubba L, Efstratiou A. 2019. Pathogenicity Factors in Group C and G Streptococci. Microbiol Spectrum 7(3):GPP3-0020-2018. doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0020-2018.


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Initially recognized zoonoses, streptococci belonging to Lancefield group C (GCS) and G (GGS) were subsequently recognised as human pathogens causing a diverse range of symptoms, from asymptomatic carriage to life threatening diseases. Their taxonomy has changed during the last decade. Asymptomatic carriage is <4% amongst the human population and invasive infections are often in association with chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases or chronic skin infections. Other clinical manifestations include acute pharyngitis, pneumonia, endocarditis, bacteraemia and toxic-shock syndrome. Post streptococcal sequalae such as rheumatic fever and acute glomerulonephritis have also been described but mainly in developed countries and amongst specific populations. Putative virulence determinants for these organisms include adhesins, toxins, and other factors that are essential for dissemination in human tissues and for interference with the host immune responses. High nucleotide similarities among virulence genes and their association with mobile genetic elements supports the hypothesis of extensive horizontal gene transfer events between the various pyogenic streptococcal species belonging to Lancefield groups A, C and G. A better understanding of the mechanisms of pathogenesis should be apparent by whole-genome sequencing, and this would result in more effective clinical strategies for the pyogenic group in general.

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Pathogenicity factors of group C and G streptococci

Source: microbiolspec May 2019 vol. 7 no. 3 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0020-2018
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Species of Lancefield group C and G streptococci

Source: microbiolspec May 2019 vol. 7 no. 3 doi:10.1128/microbiolspec.GPP3-0020-2018

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