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Open Access Research article

Serotype- and strain- dependent contribution of the sensor kinase CovS of the CovRS two-component system to Streptococcus pyogenes pathogenesis

Venelina Sugareva, Regina Arlt, Tomas Fiedler, Catur Riani, Andreas Podbielski and Bernd Kreikemeyer*

Author Affiliations

University of Rostock, Medical Faculty, Inst. of Med. Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, Dept. of Med. Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene, Schillingallee 70, 18055 Rostock, Germany

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BMC Microbiology 2010, 10:34  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-10-34

Published: 1 February 2010

Abstract

Background

The Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococci, GAS) two-component signal transduction system CovRS has been described to be important for pathogenesis of this exclusively human bacterial species. If this system acts uniquely in all serotypes is currently unclear. Presence of serotype- or strain-dependent regulatory circuits and polarity is an emerging scheme in Streptococcus pyogenes pathogenesis. Thus, the contribution of the sensor kinase (CovS) of the global regulatory two-component signal transduction system CovRS on pathogenesis of several M serotypes was investigated.

Results

CovS mutation uniformly repressed capsule expression and hampered keratinocyte adherence in all tested serotypes. However, a serotype- and even strain-dependent contribution on survival in whole human blood and biofilm formation was noted, respectively.

Conclusions

These data provide new information on the action of the CovS sensor kinase and revealed that its activity on capsule expression and keratinocyte adherence is uniform across serotypes, whereas the influence on biofilm formation and blood survival is serotype or even strain dependent. This adds the CovRS system to a growing list of serotype-specific acting regulatory loci in S. pyogenes.