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O'Toole, P. W. and O'Toole, P. and Stenberg, L. and Rissler, M. and Lindahl, G.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Two major classes in the M protein family in group A streptococci
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The M protein family of molecules in the group A streptococcus comprises a number of cell surface proteins that interact with the immune system of the host. One of the proteins in this family is the IgA receptor Arp4, which has C repeats similar to those that characterize the known M proteins. The streptococcal strain expressing Arp4 also expresses a second immunoglobulin-binding protein, Mrp4, which is shown here to be encoded by a gene located immediately upstream of the gene for Arp4. In addition to binding IgG, Mrp4 also binds fibrinogen, a property ascribed to M proteins. DNA sequence analysis demonstrated that the Mrp4 protein indeed is a member of the M protein family, but it was unexpectedly found to have a type of repeat that is identical to the A repeat described for FcRA76, a partially sequenced streptococcal Fc receptor. Purified FcRA76 was shown to bind fibrinogen and IgG, like Mrp4. These data show that the known molecules in the M protein family can be divided into two classes, A and C, according to the type of repeat region found. Hybridization studies with a panel of clinical isolates indicate that many streptococcal strains express class A and class C proteins, whereas some strains express only class C proteins. Class A molecules show amino-terminal sequence variation, like class C molecules, which suggests that proteins of both classes are targets for the immune response.
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