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Potential Factors Enabling Human Body Colonization by Animal Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis Strains

Ciszewski, Marcin, Szewczyk, Eligia M.
Current microbiology 2017 v.74 no.5 pp. 650-654
Corynebacterium, Streptococcus pyogenes, abscess, adhesion, animal pathogens, biofilm, genes, horses, human diseases, humans, microorganisms, pathogenesis, pets, risk, virulence, wild animals
Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (SDSE) is a pyogenic, Lancefield C or G streptococcal pathogen. Until recently, it has been considered as an exclusive animal pathogen. Nowadays, it is responsible for both animal infections in wild animals, pets, and livestock and human infections often clinically similar to the ones caused by group A streptococcus (Streptococcus pyogenes). The risk of zoonotic infection is the most significant in people having regular contact with animals, such as veterinarians, cattlemen, and farmers. SDSE is also prevalent on skin of healthy dogs, cats, and horses, which pose a risk also to people having contact with companion animals. The main aim of this study was to evaluate if there are features differentiating animal and human SDSE isolates, especially in virulence factors involved in the first stages of pathogenesis (adhesion and colonization). Equal groups of human and animal SDSE clinical strains were obtained from superficial infections (skin, wounds, abscesses). The presence of five virulence genes (prtF1, prtF2, lmb, cbp, emm type) was evaluated, as well as ability to form bacterial biofilm and produce BLIS (bacteriocin-like inhibitory substances) which are active against human skin microbiota. The study showed that the presence of genes coding for fibronectin-binding protein and M protein, as well as BLIS activity inhibiting the growth of Corynebacterium spp. strains might constitute the virulence factors which are necessary to colonize human organism, whereas they are not crucial in animal infections. Those virulence factors might be horizontally transferred from human streptococci to animal SDSE strains, enabling their ability to colonize human organism.