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

DNA sequencing and gene expression of the emm gene cluster in an M50 group A streptococcus strain virulent for mice.

The strain B514, an M serotype 50 strain, is capable of causing a natural upper respiratory infection leading to death in mice, as reported by Hook et al. in 1960 (E. W. Hook, R. R. Wagner, and R. C. Lancefield, Am. J. Hyg. 72:111-119, 1960). Thus, this strain was of interest for use in developing an animal model for group A streptococcal colonization and disease. The emm gene cluster for this strain was examined by PCR mapping and found to contain three emm family genes and cluster pattern 5. PCR-generated fragments corresponding to the SF4 (mrp50), SF2 (emmL50), and SF3 (enn50) genes were cloned and the entire gene cluster was sequenced. The gene cluster has greater than 97% DNA identity to previously sequenced regions of the gene cluster of the M2 strain T2/44/RB4 if two small divergent regions that encode the mature amino terminus of the SF-2 and SF-3 gene products are not included. If expressed, the genes encode proteins which bind human immunoglobulin G (Mrp50 and EmmL50) or immunoglobulin A (Enn50). However, in isolates taken directly after passage in mice, the surface proteins arising from these genes were barely detectable. The transcription of each gene in the B514 strain was investigated by Northern (RNA) hybridization, and mRNA transcripts were detected and quantitated relative to those of the recA gene, a housekeeping gene. Transcription of all three emm family genes was found to be over 30-fold attenuated relative to transcription of the same genes in strain T2/44/RB4. This suggests that the positive regulator, Mga, either is not expressed in this strain or has a different requirement for activation; it also suggests that the capsule may be sufficient to inhibit phagocytosis under these circumstances.[1]


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