Streptolysin S-like virulence factors: the continuing sagA

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2011 Aug 8;9(9):670-81. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2624.


Streptolysin S (SLS) is a potent cytolytic toxin and virulence factor that is produced by nearly all Streptococcus pyogenes strains. Despite a 100-year history of research on this toxin, it has only recently been established that SLS is just one of an extended family of post-translationally modified virulence factors (the SLS-like peptides) that are produced by some streptococci and other Gram-positive pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Clostridium botulinum. In this Review, we describe the identification, genetics, biochemistry and various functions of SLS. We also discuss the shared features of the virulence-associated SLS-like peptides, as well as their place within the rapidly expanding family of thiazole/oxazole-modified microcins (TOMMs).

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Operon
  • Streptococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / genetics
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / metabolism*
  • Streptococcus pyogenes / pathogenicity
  • Streptolysins / genetics
  • Streptolysins / metabolism*
  • Virulence


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Streptolysins
  • streptolysin S