Identification of novel cps locus polymorphisms in nontypable group B Streptococcus

Srinivas V. Ramaswamy, Patricia Ferrieri, Lawrence C. Madoff, Aurea E. Flores, Nikhil Kumar, Hervé Tettelin, Lawrence C. Paoletti

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Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is an important pathogen responsible for a variety of diseases in newborns and the elderly. A clinical GBS isolate is considered nontypable (NT) when serological methods fail to identify it as one of nine known GBS serotypes. Eight clinical isolates (designated A1-A4, B1-B4) showed PFGE profiles similar to that of a GBS serotype V strain expressing R1, R4 surface proteins. These unique isolates were further characterized by immunologic and genetic methods. Rabbit sera to isolates A1 and A2 reacted weakly with concentrated HCI extracts of A1-A4 isolates, but not with those of B1-B4 isolates. In addition, a type V capsular polysaccharide (CPS) inhibition ELISA revealed that cell wall extracts from isolates A1-A4, but not from B1 -B4, expressed low but measurable amounts of type V CPS. Molecular serotyping with PCR analysis showed that all eight isolates contained a type V-specific CPS gene (cpsO) and harboured the gene encoding the surface protein Alp3. Multilocus sequence typing identified isolate A1 as belonging to anew sequence type (ST) designated ST-1 73, whereas the other seven isolates keyed to ST-1. Sequencing of the 18 genes (17 736 bp) in the cps locus showed that each NT isolate harboured one to three unique polymorphisms, and also identified an IS 1381 element in cpsE of the B4 isolate. Collectively, genetic and immunologie analyses revealed that these NT isolates expressing R1, R4 proteins have a genetic profile consistent with that of type V, an emergent, antigenically diverse and increasingly prevalent GBS serotype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)775-783
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of medical microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


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