1887

Abstract

The mortality associated with influenza A virus (IAV) is often due to the development of secondary bacterial infections known as superinfections. The group A streptococcus (GAS) is a relatively uncommon cause of IAV superinfections, but the mortality of these infections is high. We used a murine model to determine whether the surface-localized GAS M protein contributes to the outcome of IAV–GAS superinfections. A comparison between wild-type GAS and an M protein mutant strain (emm3) showed that the M3 protein was essential to virulence. To determine whether the binding, or recruitment, of host proteins to the bacterial surface contributed to virulence, GAS was suspended with BALF collected from mice that had recovered from a sub-lethal infection with IAV. Following intranasal inoculation of naïve mice, the mortality associated with the wild-type strain, but not the emm3 mutant strain, was greater compared to mice inoculated with GAS suspended with either BALF from uninfected mice or PBS. Further analyses showed that both albumin and fibrinogen (Fg) were more abundant in the respiratory tract 8 days after IAV infection, that M3 bound both proteins to the bacterial surface, and that suspension of GAS with either protein increased GAS virulence in the absence of antecedent IAV infection. Overall, the results showed that M3 is essential to the virulence of GAS in an IAV superinfection and suggested that increased abundance of albumin and Fg in the respiratory tract following IAV infection enhanced host susceptibility to secondary GAS infection.

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2017-09-25
2019-10-14
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