Neutralizing antichlamydial activity of complement by chlamydia-secreted protease CPAF.
Recent studies have shown that activation of complement and contact systems results in the generation of antibacterial peptides. Streptococcus pyogenes, a major bacterial pathogen in humans, exists in >100 different serotypes due to sequence variation in the surface-associated M protein. Cases of invasive and life-threatening S. pyogenes infections are commonly associated with isolates of the M1 serotype, and in contrast to the large majority of M serotypes, M1 isolates all secrete the SIC protein. Here, we show that SIC interferes with the activation of the contact system and blocks the activity of antibacterial peptides generated through complement and contact activation. This effect promotes the growth of S. pyogenes in human plasma, and in a mouse model of S. pyogenes sepsis, SIC enhances bacterial dissemination, results which help explain the high frequency of severe S. pyogenes infections caused by isolates of the M1 serotype.