Group B streptococcus (GBS) can cause severe disease in susceptible hosts, including newborns, pregnant women, and the elderly. GBS serine-rich repeat (Srr) surface glycoproteins are important adhesins/invasins in multiple host tissues, including the vagina. However, exact molecular mechanisms contributing to their importance in colonization are unknown. We have recently determined that Srr proteins contain a fibrino-gen-binding region (BR) and hypothesize that Srr-mediated fibrinogen binding may contribute to GBS cervi-covaginal colonization. In this study, we observed that fibrinogen enhanced wild-type GBS attachment to cervical and vaginal epithelium, and that this was dependent on Srr1. Moreover, purified Srr1-BR peptide bound directly to host cells, and peptide administration in vivo reduced GBS recovery from the vaginal tract. Furthermore, a GBS mutant strain lacking only the Srr1 “latching ” domain exhibited decreased adherence in vitro and decreased persistence in a mouse model of GBS vaginal colonization, suggesting the importance of Srr–fibrinogen interactions in the female reproductive tract
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