Multilocus sequence typing of serotype III group B streptococcus and correlation with pathogenic potential

J Infect Dis. 2004 Mar 15;189(6):1097-102. doi: 10.1086/382087. Epub 2004 Feb 27.


Serotype III group B streptococcus (GBS) causes more invasive disease in infants than do other serotypes in North America. We used multilocus sequence typing to identify clones within 28 invasive serotype III GBS isolates identified from a population-based study and 55 serotype III GBS colonizing isolates from a cohort of women from the same population. Ten allelic sequence types (STs) were identified and primarily involved 2 profiles: ST-19 (57.1% of invasive isolates and 58.2% of colonizing isolates) and ST-17 (32.1% of invasive isolates and 29.1% of colonizing isolates). On concatenation, the 10 allelic profiles converged into 3 groups. Group 1 consisted of ST-19 complex, ST-36, and ST-1, and was closely related to reference genome 2603V/R (serotype V). Group 2 consisted of ST-17 complex. Group 3 consisted of ST-23 complex and was closely related to the serotype III genome strain NEM 316. Neither of the major sequence types or groups was more commonly associated with invasion (P=.61) or with lower levels of maternal capsular polysaccharide-specific IgG (0.89 microg/mL and 0.39 microg/mL, respectively) for ST-19 and ST-17 (P=.86). The close association of genomic strain 2603V/R (serotype V) with ST-19 suggests that the phenomenon of capsule switching may have occurred.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Bacterial Capsules / immunology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Serotyping
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / classification*
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / genetics
  • Streptococcus agalactiae / pathogenicity


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Immunoglobulin G