Arcanobacterium (Actinomyces) pyogenes, an animal pathogen, produces a hemolytic exotoxin, pyolysin (PLO). The gene encoding PLO was cloned, and sequence analysis revealed an open reading frame of 1,605 bp encoding a protein of 57.9 kDa. PLO has 30 to 40% identity with the thiol-activated cytolysins (TACYs) of a number of gram-positive bacteria. The activity of PLO was found to be very similar to those of other TACYs, except that it was not thiol activated. The highly conserved TACY undecapeptide is divergent in PLO; in particular, the cysteine residue required for thiol activation has been replaced with alanine. However, mutagenesis of the alanine residue to cysteine did not confer thiol activation on PLO, suggesting a conformational difference in the undecapeptide region of this toxin. Specific antibodies against purified, recombinant PLO completely neutralized the hemolytic activity of A. pyogenes, suggesting that this organism produces a single hemolysin. Furthermore, these antibodies could passively protect mice against lethal challenge with A. pyogenes, suggesting that like other TACYs PLO is an important virulence factor in the pathogenesis of this organism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology