Protein H, an antiphagocytic surface protein in Streptococcus pyogenes

B M Kihlberg, Mattias Collin, Arne Olsén, Lars Björck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Surface-associated M protein is a major virulence factor in Streptococcus pyogenes which confers bacterial resistance to phagocytosis. However, many S. pyogenes strains also express additional structurally related so-called M-like proteins. The strain studied here is of the clinically important M1 serotype and expresses two structurally related surface proteins, the M1 protein and protein H. Mutants were generated that expressed only one or none of these proteins at the bacterial surface. For survival in human blood either protein H or M1 protein was sufficient, whereas the double mutant was rapidly killed. The protein-binding properties of protein H, M1 protein, and the mutants suggest that bacterial binding of immunoglobulin G and factor H or factor H-like protein 1, which are regulatory proteins in the complement system, contribute to the antiphagocytic property.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1708-1714
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1999

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Infectious Medicine


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