Opacification domain of serum opacity factor inhibits beta-hemolysis and contributes to virulence of Streptococcus pyogenes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Serum opacity factor (SOF) is a cell surface virulence factor made by the human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes. We found that S. pyogenes strains with naturally occurring truncation mutations in the sof gene have markedly enhanced beta-hemolysis. Moreover, deletion of the sof gene in a SOF-positive parental strain resulted in significantly increased beta-hemolysis. Together, these observations suggest that SOF is an inhibitor of beta-hemolysis. SOF has two major functional domains, including an opacification domain and a fibronectin-binding domain. Using a SOF-positive serotype M89 S. pyogenes parental strain and a panel of isogenic mutant derivative strains, we evaluated the relative contribution of each SOF functional domain to beta-hemolysis inhibition and bacterial virulence. We found that the opacification domain, rather than the fibronectin-binding domain, is essential for SOF-mediated beta-hemolysis inhibition. The opacification domain, but not the fibronectin-binding domain of SOF, also contributed significantly to virulence in mouse models of bacteremia and necrotizing myositis. Inasmuch as the opacification domain of SOF is known to interact avidly with host high-density lipoprotein (HDL), we speculate that SOF-HDL interaction is an important process underlying SOF-mediated betahemolysis inhibition and SOF-mediated virulence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00147-17
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Beta-hemolysis
  • High-density lipoprotein
  • Serum opacity factor
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Virulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Opacification domain of serum opacity factor inhibits beta-hemolysis and contributes to virulence of Streptococcus pyogenes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this