Journal Article
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
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Streptococcus pyogenes causing toxic-shock-like syndrome and other invasive diseases: clonal diversity and pyrogenic exotoxin expression.

Genetic diversity and relationships among 108 isolates of the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes recently recovered from patients in the United States with toxic-shock-like syndrome or other invasive diseases were estimated by multilocus enzyme electrophoresis. Thirty-three electrophoretic types (ETs), representing distinctive multilocus clonal genotypes, were identified, but nearly half the disease episodes, including more than two-thirds of the cases of toxic-shock-like syndrome, were caused by strains of two related clones (ET 1 and ET 2). These two clones were also represented by recent pathogenic European isolates. A previous report of a relatively high frequency of expression of exotoxin A among isolates recovered from toxic-shock-like syndrome patients in the United States was confirmed; and the demonstration of this association both within clones and among distantly related clones supports the hypothesis that exotoxin A is a causal factor in pathogenesis of this disease. Near identity of the nucleotide sequences of the exotoxin A structural gene of six isolates of five ETs in diverse phylogenetic lineages was interpreted as evidence that the gene has been horizontally distributed among clones, presumably by bacteriophage-mediated transfer.

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