Is plasminogen deployed as a Streptococcus pyogenes virulence factor?
Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus) causes human skin and throat infections as well as highly invasive diseases including necrotizing fasciitis. Group A streptococcal infections and invasive disease have made a resurgence in developed countries during the past two decades. S. pyogenes use multiple pathways for the acquisition and activation of human plasminogen, securing potent proteolytic activity on the bacterial cell surface. Recent experimental evidence using a humanized transgenic mouse model suggests a crucial role for human plasminogen in the dissemination of S. pyogenes in vivo.