The presence of genes encoding pyrogenic exotoxins type A (speA), B (speB), and C (speC) and streptolysin O (slo) was determined by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to target specific sequences in 152 strains of group A streptococci. These included reference strains, representative M and T type strains, and strains associated with scarlet fever and pharyngitis collected between 1940 to 1991 and included strains from patients with severe invasive streptococcal infections. PCR amplicons were detected by agarose gel electrophoresis, and specificity was established by restriction fragment analysis. The frequency of occurrence for each target gene among all strains tested was 33.6% for speA, 99.3% for speB, 28.9% for speC, and 100% for slo. Strains of non-group A streptococci, recognized toxigenic bacterial pathogens, and pneumolysin-producing Streptococcus pneumoniae strains were negative for all targeted gene sequences. Detection limits in the PCR were found to be 100 pg of total nucleic acids for the speB and speC genes and 1 ng for the speA and slo genes. Isolates associated with scarlet fever, pharyngitis, and severe invasive infections showed statistically significant differences in the presence of speA, with scarlet fever strains having the highest association (81.3%), severe infections the next highest association (42.9%), and pharyngitis the lowest association (18.4%). Although no significant differences were observed in speC frequencies in isolated associated with the three disease categories, a genotype of speB slo was significantly higher in isolates associated with pharyngitis (54.1%) than in strains associated with scarlet fever (18.8%) or severe invasive disease (23.8%). Streptolysin O targets were present in all the isolates tested, and only a single strain (T-11-M-11) was devoid of targeted speB sequences, thereby demonstrating that neither speB nor slo is associated with any particular clinical presentation.
Cites: J Infect Dis. 1991 Sep;164(3):595-81869845
Cites: Mol Gen Genet. 1991 Dec;231(1):161-81753942