ABSTRACT: Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus, a Lancefield group C streptococcus, is a frequently isolated opportunist pathogen from a variety of animal hosts, including the horse. Previous studies have indicated that equine strains carry antigens with characteristics of the antiphagocytic M proteins on the Lancefield groups A and G streptococci. We have cloned a protective M-like protein gene (SzPW60) of an equine strain of S. equi subsp. zooepidemicus W60 and determined its sequence. This gene encodes a protein with a molecular weight of 40,123 which protects mice against subsp. zooepidemicus but not subsp. equi, stimulates antibodies which opsonize subsp. zooepidemicus but not equi, and reacts with antiserum to the protein of the parent strain. The predicted amino acid structure shows significant homology with the carboxy termini of groups A and G M proteins but no other homology. The M-like protein, although showing an extensive region of alpha helix, lacks the A, B, and C repeats found in group A M proteins and has a shorter signal sequence. A proline-rich region upstream from the LPSTGE motif contains 20 repeats of the tetrapeptide PEPK. The presence of this repeat region may account for the slow migration of the M-like protein in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis.
Infection and Immunity 05/1995; 63(4):1440-5. · 4.16 Impact Factor