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Shao Z.-Q.,Nanjing University | Zhang Y.-M.,Nanjing University | Pan X.-Z.,Research Institute for Medicine of Nanjing Command | Wang B.,Nanjing University | Chen J.-Q.,Nanjing University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The Histidine Triad Proteins (HTPs), also known as Pht proteins in Streptococcus pneumoniae, constitute a family of surface-exposed proteins that exist in many pathogenic streptococcal species. Although many studies have revealed the importance of HTPs in streptococcal physiology and pathogenicity, little is known about their origin and evolution. In this study, after identifying all htp homologs from 105 streptococcal genomes representing 38 different species/subspecies, we analyzed their domain structures, positions in genome, and most importantly, their evolutionary histories. By further projecting this information onto the streptococcal phylogeny, we made several major findings. First, htp genes originated earlier than the Streptococcus genus and gene-loss events have occurred among three streptococcal groups, resulting in the absence of the htp gene in the Bovis, Mutans and Salivarius groups. Second, the copy number of htp genes in other groups of Streptococcus is variable, ranging from one to four functional copies. Third, both phylogenetic evidence and domain structure analyses support the division of two htp subfamilies, designated as htp I and htp II. Although present mainly in the pyogenic group and in Streptococcus suis, htp II members are distinct from htp I due to the presence of an additional leucine-rich-repeat domain at the C-terminus. Finally, htp genes exhibit a faster nucleotide substitution rate than do housekeeping genes. Specifically, the regions outside the HTP domains are under strong positive selection. This distinct evolutionary pattern likely helped Streptococcus to easily escape from recognition by host immunity. © 2013 Shao et al. Source


Zhao Y.,Chongqing Medical University | Liu G.,Chongqing Medical University | Li S.,Chongqing Medical University | Wang M.,Chongqing Medical University | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Infectious Diseases | Year: 2011

Streptococcus suis serotype 2 (S. suis 2) has evolved into a highly invasive pathogen that was found to be the cause of 2 large-scale outbreaks of streptococcus toxic shock syndrome (STSS) in China. However, the mechanism of action of this non-group A streptococcal (GAS) S. suis-caused STSS is still unknown. Previously, we identified a unique pathogenicity island (PAI) designated 89K that is specific to the STSS-causing epidemic strains of S. suis 2. In this study, we further report a functional type IV-like secretion system (T4SS-like system) harbored in the 89K PAI that contributes to the development of STSS. Knockout of the 2 key components (VirD4-89K and VirB4-89K) of the T4SS-like system eliminated the lethality of the highly virulent strain and impaired its ability to trigger host immune response in experimental infection of mice. Our findings provide a new insight into the pathogenesis of STSS caused by the highly pathogenic S. suis 2 isolates. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. Source


Zeng X.,Chinese Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology | Zeng X.,Huazhong Agricultural University | Yuan Y.,Chinese Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology | Wei Y.,Chinese Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology | And 7 more authors.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases | Year: 2011

Streptococcus suis serotype 2 (S. suis S2) is able to cause human infections ranging from superficial wounded skin infections to severe invasive infections such as meningitis and streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome. During its infection cycle, S. suis S2 must acclimatize itself to temperature shift. Herein, a whole-genome DNA microarray was used to investigate the global transcriptional regulation of an invasive strain of S. suis S2 grown to late-exponential phase at 29°C or 40°C relative to 37°C. The differentially regulated genes that were detected included those encoding virulence factors, antigenic proteins, ATP-binding-cassette transporters, and proteins of unknown functions. Our data provided a global profile of gene transcription induced by temperature alteration and shed light on some unforeseen lines for further pathogenesis investigation. © Copyright 2011, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2011. Source


Wu Z.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Li M.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Li M.,Chongqing Medical University | Wang C.,Research Institute for Medicine of Nanjing Command | And 11 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2011

Background: Our previous studies revealed that a new disease form of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) is associated with specific Streptococcus suis serotype 2 (SS2) strains. To achieve a better understanding of the pathogenicity and evolution of SS2 at the whole-genome level, comparative genomic analysis of 18 SS2 strains, selected on the basis of virulence and geographic origin, was performed using NimbleGen tiling arrays.Results: Our results demonstrate that SS2 isolates have highly divergent genomes. The 89K pathogenicity island (PAI), which has been previously recognized as unique to the Chinese epidemic strains causing STSS, was partially included in some other virulent and avirulent strains. The ABC-type transport systems, encoded by 89K, were hypothesized to greatly contribute to the catastrophic features of STSS. Moreover, we identified many polymorphisms in genes encoding candidate or known virulence factors, such as PlcR, lipase, sortases, the pilus-associated proteins, and the response regulator RevS and CtsR. On the basis of analysis of regions of differences (RDs) across the entire genome for the 18 selected SS2 strains, a model of microevolution for these strains is proposed, which provides clues into Streptococcus pathogenicity and evolution.Conclusions: Our deep comparative genomic analysis of the 89K PAI present in the genome of SS2 strains revealed details into how some virulent strains acquired genes that may contribute to STSS, which may lead to better environmental monitoring of epidemic SS2 strains. © 2011 Wu et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source


Li M.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Shen X.,Chongqing Medical University | Yan J.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | Han H.,CAS Institute of Microbiology | And 11 more authors.
Molecular Microbiology | Year: 2011

Pathogenicity islands (PAIs), a distinct type of genomic island (GI), play important roles in the rapid adaptation and increased virulence of pathogens. 89K is a newly identified PAI in epidemic Streptococcus suis isolates that are related to the two recent large-scale outbreaks of human infection in China. However, its mechanism of evolution and contribution to the epidemic spread of S. suis 2 remain unknown. In this study, the potential for mobilization of 89K was evaluated, and its putative transfer mechanism was investigated. We report that 89K can spontaneously excise to form an extrachromosomal circular product. The precise excision is mediated by an 89K-borne integrase through site-specific recombination, with help from an excisionase. The 89K excision intermediate acts as a substrate for lateral transfer to non-89K S. suis 2 recipients, where it reintegrates site-specifically into the target site. The conjugal transfer of 89K occurred via a GI type IV secretion system (T4SS) encoded in 89K, at a frequency of 10 -6 transconjugants per donor. This is the first demonstration of horizontal transfer of a Gram-positive PAI mediated by a GI-type T4SS. We propose that these genetic events are important in the emergence, pathogenesis and persistence of epidemic S. suis 2 strains. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

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