A collection of 100 strains of , in which all species within the tribe were represented, was examined for IgA protease production. The strains were isolated from various clinical specimens from sick and healthy persons in several countries. IgA protease-producing strains were not found amongst species of and but were common in spp. All the strains of and and many of the strains of examined produced an EDTA-sensitive protease that cleaved the IgA heavy chain outside the hinge region. The proteus enzyme was different in this respect from the EDTA-sensitive, hingecutting proteases of other bacteria. The ability to produce IgA protease was unrelated to the O antigenicity, biotype or bacteriocin type of the strain. IgA protease production may be an important virulence mechanism for strains.


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