Streptococcal toxins: role in pathogenesis and disease

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Group AStreptococcus(Streptococcus pyogenes), group BStreptococcus(Streptococcus agalactiae) andStreptococcus pneumoniae(pneumococcus) are host-adapted bacterial pathogens among the leading infectious causes of human morbidity and mortality. These microbes and related members of the genusStreptococcusproduce an array of toxins that act against human cells or tissues, resulting in impaired immune responses and subversion of host physiological processes to benefit the invading microorganism. This toxin repertoire includes haemolysins, proteases, superantigens and other agents that ultimately enhance colonization and survival within the host and promote dissemination of the pathogen.

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