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Nat Commun DOI:10.1038/ncomms6411

Unencapsulated Streptococcus pneumoniae from conjunctivitis encode variant traits and belong to a distinct phylogenetic cluster.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsValentino, MD, McGuire, AManson, Rosch, JW, Bispo, PJM, Burnham, C, Sanfilippo, CM, Carter, RA, Zegans, ME, Beall, B, Earl, AM, Tuomanen, EI, Morris, TW, Haas, W, Gilmore, MS
JournalNat Commun
Date Published2014 Nov 12
KeywordsAdhesins, Bacterial, Asymptomatic Infections, Bacterial Capsules, Blotting, Western, Conjunctivitis, Bacterial, Genome, Bacterial, Humans, Multigene Family, Multilocus Sequence Typing, Phylogeny, Phylogeography, Pneumococcal Infections, Streptococcus pneumoniae, United States, Virulence Factors

Streptococcus pneumoniae, an inhabitant of the upper respiratory mucosa, causes respiratory and invasive infections as well as conjunctivitis. Strains that lack the capsule, a main virulence factor and the target of current vaccines, are often isolated from conjunctivitis cases. Here we perform a comparative genomic analysis of 271 strains of conjunctivitis-causing S. pneumoniae from 72 postal codes in the United States. We find that the vast majority of conjunctivitis strains are members of a distinct cluster of closely related unencapsulated strains. These strains possess divergent forms of pneumococcal virulence factors (such as CbpA and neuraminidases) that are not shared with other unencapsulated nasopharyngeal S. pneumoniae. They also possess putative adhesins that have not been described in encapsulated pneumococci. These findings suggest that the unencapsulated strains capable of causing conjunctivitis utilize a pathogenesis strategy substantially different from that described for S. pneumoniae at other infection sites.


Alternate JournalNat Commun
PubMed ID25388376
PubMed Central IDPMC4231546
Grant ListHHSN272200900018C / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
R01 EY024285 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States
EY007145 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States
AI083214 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
HHSN272200900018C / / PHS HHS / United States
P01 AI083214 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
U19 AI110818 / AI / NIAID NIH HHS / United States
T32 EY007145 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States