a1 Laboratorio de Microbiología, Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
a2 Milenium Nucleus of Immunology and Immunotheraphy, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Streptococcus pyogenes causes a variety of infections because of virulence factors such as capsular hyaluronic acid and M protein. The aim of this study was to determine emm types and capsule phenotype in 110 isolates of S. pyogenes from patients with invasive (sterile sites) and non-invasive (mainly pharyngitis) infections in Chile, and the relationship between both virulence factors. The most abundant types found were emm12, emm1, emm4 and emm28 and their distribution was similar to that seen in Latin America and developed countries, but very different from that in Asia and Pacific Island countries. Ten of 16 emm types identified in pharyngeal isolates were found in sterile-site isolates, and three of nine emm types of sterile-site isolates occurred in pharyngeal isolates; three emm subtypes were novel. The amount of hyaluronic acid was significantly higher in sterile-site isolates but did not differ substantially among emm types. Only three isolates were markedly capsulate and two of them had mutations in the csrR gene that codes for a repressor of capsule synthesis genes. We found a non-random association between emm types and csrR gene alleles suggesting that horizontal gene transfer is not freely occurring in the population.
(Accepted August 24 2011)
(Online publication September 12 2011)