Several strains of group G streptococci (GGS) form aggregates when grown . Aggregating strains interact with fibrinogen, and this study reports the isolation of a novel self-associating and ibrinogen-binding protein f GS, denoted protein FOG. Sequencing of the gene revealed structural similarity with M proteins of both GGS and group A streptococci (GAS). Analogous to GAS, GGS were found to multiply in human blood. All strains of GGS express protein G, a protein known to interact with the constant region of immunoglobulin G and albumin. Surprisingly, a clinical isolate expressing protein G, but lacking protein FOG, was killed in human whole blood; however, the addition of intact soluble protein FOG restored the ability of the bacteria to survive and multiply in human blood. This is believed to be the first report of a soluble M-like protein salvaging an M-negative strain from being killed. The antibactericidal property of protein FOG is dependent on its fibrinogen-binding activity. Thus, in plasma, FOG precipitates fibrinogen, and when added to whole blood, protein FOG triggers the formation of visible aggregates comprising fibrinogen and neutrophils that are disabled in their killing of the bacteria. Moreover, the results emphasize the importance of an intact FOG molecule, as presented on the bacterial surface, for full protective effect.


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