A recent study with isogenic strains constructed by recombinant DNA strategies unambiguously documented that a highly conserved extracellular cysteine protease expressed by Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus [GAS]) is a critical virulence factor in a mouse model of invasive disease (S. Lukomski, S. Sreevatsan, C. Amberg, W. Reichardt, M. Woischnik, A. Podbielski, and J. M. Musser, J. Clin. Invest. 99:.2574-2580, 1997). To facilitate further investigations of the streptococcal cysteine protease, recombinant proteins composed of a 40-kDa zymogen containing a C192S amino acid substitution that ablates enzymatic activity, a 28-kDa mature protein with the C192S replacement, and a 12-kDa propeptide were purified from Escherichia coli containing His tag expression vectors. The recombinant C192S zymogen retained apparently normal structural integrity, as assessed by the ability of purified wild-type streptococcal cysteine protease to process the 40-kDa molecule to the 28-kDa mature form. All three recombinant purified proteins retained immunologic reactivity with polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies. Humans with a diverse range of invasive disease episodes (erysipelas, cellulitis, pneumonia, bacteremia, septic arthritis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome, and necrotizing fasciitis) caused by six distinct M types of GAS seroconverted to the streptococcal cysteine protease. These results demonstrate that this GAS protein is expressed in vivo during the course of human infections and thereby provide additional evidence that the cysteine protease participates in host-pathogen interactions in some patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases