Distinct Serotypes of Streptococcal M Proteins Mediate Fibrinogen-Dependent Platelet Activation and Proinflammatory Effects

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Sepsis is a life-threatening complication of infection that is characterised by a dysregulated inflammatory state and disturbed hemostasis. Platelets are the main regulators of hemostasis, and they also respond to inflammation. The human pathogen Streptococcus pyogenes can cause local infection that may progress to sepsis. There are more than 200 different serotypes of S. pyogenes defined according to sequence variations in the M protein. The M1 serotype is among ten serotypes that are predominant in invasive infection. M1 protein can be released from the surface and has previously been shown to generate platelet, neutrophil and monocyte activation. The platelet dependent pro-inflammatory effects of other serotypes of M protein associated with invasive infection (M3, M5, M28, M49 and M89) is now investigated using a combination of multiparameter flow cytometry, ELISA, aggregometry and quantitative mass spectrometry. We demonstrate that only M1-, M3- and M5 protein serotypes can bind fibrinogen in plasma and mediate fibrinogen and IgG dependent platelet activation and aggregation, release of granule proteins, upregulation of CD62P to the platelet surface, and complex formation with neutrophils and monocytes. Neutrophil and monocyte activation, determined as upregulation of surface CD11b, is also mediated by M1-, M3- and M5 protein serotypes, while M28-, M49- or M89 proteins failed to mediate activation of platelets or leukocytes. Collectively, our findings reveal novel aspects of the immunomodulatory role of fibrinogen acquisition and platelet activation during streptococcal infections.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00462-21
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Infectious Medicine
  • Microbiology in the medical area


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