On the interaction between beta 2-microglobulin and group A streptococci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


beta 2-microglobulin (beta 2m) was found to interact with many group A streptococcal strains. The interaction appeared to require multipoint attachment, since monomeric beta 2m in solution showed no binding, whereas both beta 2m monomers bound to liposomes, and beta 2m in aggregates showed affinity for the bacteria. Aggregated HLA antigens (-A, -B and -C) and aggregated beta 2m exhibited the same binding patterns when tested in binding experiments with various group A streptococcal strains. Furthermore, beta 2m aggregates in excess completely blocked the binding of aggregated HLA antigens, thereby demonstrating that beta 2m is able to interact with streptococcal surface structures also when it is part of the HLA antigen complex. M protein-positive group A streptococcal strains bound significantly more beta 2m than M protein-negative variants of these strains. Purified M 12 protein partly inhibited the binding of radiolabelled beta 2m aggregates to whole streptococci, and in gel filtration and affinity chromatography experiments, the M 12 protein interacted with beta 2m. These various data suggest that the interaction between beta 2m and group A streptococci could be mediated by M protein. Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is a constituent of the streptococcal cell wall that has been reported to form complexes with M protein at the bacterial cell surface. However, LTA did not influence the interaction between beta 2m and streptococci, suggesting that the binding of beta 2m to streptococcal M protein represents a pure protein-protein interaction. In vivo such an interaction could be established between infecting streptococci and host cells. Among 45 strains of different M types large differences in beta 2m binding were recorded, whereas among 60 strains of the classical nephritogenic M types 12 and 49, all were highly beta 2m-reactive, which points towards a role for beta 2m in streptococcal pathogenicity.


  • Lars Björck
  • Håkan Miörner
  • O Kühnemund
  • G Kronvall
  • Roger Sundler
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Immunology in the medical area
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-79
JournalScandinavian Journal of Immunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1984
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Division of Infection Medicine (BMC) (013024020), Macrophage Signalling (013212039), Division of Medical Microbiology (013250400)