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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Molecular characterization of the pore-forming toxin, pyolysin, a major virulence determinant of Arcanobacterium pyogenes.

Arcanobacterium pyogenes is a common inhabitant and opportunistic pathogen of domestic animals. The pathogenesis of this organism in a range of suppurative diseases is not well understood. However, the development of genetic techniques to study this organism has allowed advances in the analysis of A. pyogenes virulence factors. A major step in this analysis was the identification and cloning of the A. pyogenes hemolytic exotoxin, pyolysin (PLO). PLO is the most divergent member of the cholesterol-binding pore-forming family of toxins. PLO is also divergent in a C-terminal undecapeptide motif which is almost invariant among other members of the family. This divergent undecapeptide motif is required for the full cytolytic activity of PLO and is also responsible for its oxygen-resistant nature. Insertional inactivation of the plo gene results in a significant reduction in virulence in an intraperitoneal mouse model of infection. The virulence of the plo mutant can be restored by providing PLO in trans, suggesting that PLO is a major virulence factor in A. pyogenes pathogenesis in mice. Results of previous vaccination trials with crude antigens against A. pyogenes infection in domestic animals and mice have been equivocal at best. However, a recombinant PLO-based subunit vaccine protected mice from experimental A. pyogenes infection, indicating that PLO is also an important host protective antigen. These results provide promise that the dogma that domestic animals are recalcitrant to vaccination against A. pyogenes infection may prove false.[1]


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