Genome sequence of a serotype M28 strain of group a streptococcus: potential new insights into puerperal sepsis and bacterial disease specificity

J Infect Dis. 2005 Sep 1;192(5):760-70. doi: 10.1086/430618. Epub 2005 Jul 29.


Puerperal sepsis, a major cause of death of young women in Europe in the 1800s, was due predominantly to the gram-positive pathogen group A Streptococcus. Studies conducted during past decades have shown that serotype M28 strains are the major group A Streptococcus organisms responsible for many of these infections. To begin to increase our understanding of their enrichment in puerperal sepsis, we sequenced the genome of a genetically representative strain. This strain has genes encoding a novel array of prophage virulence factors, cell-surface proteins, and other molecules likely to contribute to host-pathogen interactions. Importantly, genes for 7 inferred extracellular proteins are encoded by a 37.4-kb foreign DNA element that is shared with group B Streptococcus and is present in all serotype M28 strains. Proteins encoded by the 37.4-kb element were expressed extracellularly and in human infections. Acquisition of foreign genes has helped create a disease-specialist clone of this pathogen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics
  • DNA, Bacterial / chemistry
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Female
  • Genome, Bacterial*
  • Humans
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prophages / genetics
  • Puerperal Infection / microbiology*
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sepsis / microbiology
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / genetics*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / pathogenicity
  • Virulence Factors


  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Virulence Factors
  • streptococcal M protein