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author:("baiocchi, M A")
1.  RrgA is a pilus-associated adhesin in Streptococcus pneumoniae 
Molecular Microbiology  2007;66(2):329-340.
Adherence to host cells is important in microbial colonization of a mucosal surface, and Streptococcus pneumoniae adherence was significantly enhanced by expression of an extracellular pilus composed of three subunits, RrgA, RrgB and RrgC. We sought to determine which subunit(s) confers adherence. Bacteria deficient in RrgA are significantly less adherent than wild-type organisms, while overexpression of RrgA enhances adherence. Recombinant monomeric RrgA binds to respiratory cells, as does RrgC with less affinity, and pre-incubation of epithelial cells with RrgA reduces adherence of wild-type piliated pneumococci. Non-adherent RrgA-negative, RrgB- and RrgC-positive organisms produce pili, suggesting that pilus-mediated adherence is due to expression of RrgA, rather than the pilus backbone itself. In contrast, RrgA-positive strains with disrupted rrgB and rrgC genes exhibit wild-type adherence despite failure to produce pili by Western blot or immunoelectron microscopy. The density of bacteria colonizing the upper respiratory tract of mice inoculated with piliated RrgA-negative pneumococci was significantly less compared with wild-type; in contrast, non-piliated pneumococci expressing non-polymeric RrgA had similar numbers of bacteria in the nasopharynx as piliated wild-type bacteria. These data suggest that RrgA is central in pilus-mediated adherence and disease, even in the absence of polymeric pilus production.
PMCID: PMC2170534  PMID: 17850254
2.  Assessment of Streptococcus pneumoniae pilus islet-1 prevalence in carried and transmitted isolates from mother–infant pairs on the Thailand–Burma border 
Clinical Microbiology and Infection  2011;18(10):970-975.
Streptococcus pneumoniae pilus islet-1 (PI-1)-encoded pilus enhances in vitro adhesion to the respiratory epithelium and may contribute to pneumococcal nasopharyngeal colonization and transmission. The pilus subunits are regarded as potential protein vaccine candidates. In this study, we sought to determine PI-1 prevalence in carried pneumococcal isolates and explore its relationship with transmissibility or carriage duration. We studied 896 pneumococcal isolates collected during a longitudinal carriage study that included monthly nasopharyngeal swabbing of 234 infants and their mothers between the ages of 1 and 24 months. These were cultured according to the WHO pneumococcal carriage detection protocol. PI-1 PCR and genotyping by multilocus sequence typing were performed on isolates chosen according to specific carriage and transmission definitions. Overall, 35.2% of the isolates were PI-1-positive, but PI-1 presence was restricted to ten of the 34 serotypes studied and was most frequently associated with serotypes 19F and 23F; 47.5% of transmitted and 43.3% of non-transmitted isolates were PI-1-positive (OR 1.2; 95% CI 0.8–1.7; p 0.4). The duration of first-ever infant pneumococcal carriage was significantly longer with PI-1-positive organisms, but this difference was not significant at the individual serotype level. In conclusion, PI-1 is commonly found in pneumococcal carriage isolates, but does not appear to be associated with pneumococcal transmissibility or carriage duration.
PMCID: PMC3469734  PMID: 22092910
Carriage; carriage duration; colonization; PI-1; pilus-1; Streptococcus pneumoniae; transmission

Results 1-2 (2)