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Plasminogen is a critical host pathogenicity factor for group A streptococcal infection.

Group A streptococci, a common human pathogen, secrete streptokinase, which activates the host's blood clot-dissolving protein, plasminogen. Streptokinase is highly specific for human plasminogen, exhibiting little or no activity against other mammalian species, including mouse. Here, a transgene expressing human plasminogen markedly increased mortality in mice infected with streptococci, and this susceptibility was dependent on bacterial streptokinase expression. Thus, streptokinase is a key pathogenicity factor and the primary determinant of host species specificity for group A streptococcal infection. In addition, local fibrin clot formation may be implicated in host defense against microbial pathogens.

Pubmed ID: 15333838


  • Sun H
  • Ringdahl U
  • Homeister JW
  • Fay WP
  • Engleberg NC
  • Yang AY
  • Rozek LS
  • Wang X
  • Sj√∂bring U
  • Ginsburg D


Science (New York, N.Y.)

Publication Data

August 27, 2004

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NHLBI NIH HHS, Id: P01HL057346

Mesh Terms

  • Ancrod
  • Animals
  • Anticoagulants
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Fibrin
  • Fibrinolysin
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Gene Deletion
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Plasminogen
  • Skin
  • Species Specificity
  • Spleen
  • Streptococcal Infections
  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Streptokinase
  • Transgenes
  • Virulence