Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (SDSE) is a human pathogen that colonizes the skin or throat, and causes a range of diseases from relatively benign pharyngitis to potentially fatal invasive diseases. While not as virulent as the close relative Streptococcus pyogenes the two share a number of virulence factors and are known to coexist in a human host. Both pre- and post-genomic studies have revealed that horizontal gene transfer (HGT) and recombination occurs between these two organisms and plays a major role in shaping the population structure of SDSE. This review summarizes our current knowledge of HGT and recombination in the evolution of SDSE.
Keywords: M-protein; Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis; Streptococcus pyogenes; bacteriophage; horizontal gene transfer; integrative conjugative element; recombination.