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3D structure of pneumolysin

Pneumolysin is a putative virulence factor of the gram-positive bacteria Streptococcus pneumoniae.[1]

It is a pore-forming toxin of 53 kDa composed of 471 amino acids.[2] It has a range of biological activities including the ability to lyse[3] and interfere with the function of cells and soluble molecules of the immune system.[4]

Released pneumolysin will aid the bacteria during colonization, by facilitating adherence to the host,[5] during invasion by damaging host cells,[6] and during infection by interfering with the host immune response.[7]

The presence of pneumolysin in sputum,[8] urine,[9] CSF[10] and blood[11] can be indicative of an S. pneumoniae infection.


  1. ^ Rossjohn, J; Gilbert, RJ, Crane, D, Morgan, PJ, Mitchell, TJ, Rowe, AJ, Andrew, PW, Paton, JC, Tweten, RK, Parker, MW (Nov 27, 1998). "The molecular mechanism of pneumolysin, a virulence factor from Streptococcus pneumoniae.". Journal of Molecular Biology 284 (2): 449–61. doi:10.1006/jmbi.1998.2167. PMID 9813129. 
  2. ^ Marriott, HM; Mitchell, TJ, Dockrell, DH (September 2008). "Pneumolysin: a double-edged sword during the host-pathogen interaction.". Current molecular medicine 8 (6): 497–509. doi:10.2174/156652408785747924. PMID 18781957. 
  3. ^ Baba, H; Kawamura, I; Kohda, C; Nomura, T; Ito, Y; Kimoto, T; Watanabe, I; Ichiyama, S; Mitsuyama, M (Feb 16, 2001). "Essential role of domain 4 of pneumolysin from Streptococcus pneumoniae in cytolytic activity as determined by truncated proteins.". Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 281 (1): 37–44. doi:10.1006/bbrc.2001.4297. PMID 11178957. 
  4. ^ Hirst, RA; Kadioglu, A; O'callaghan, C; Andrew, PW (November 2004). "The role of pneumolysin in pneumococcal pneumonia and meningitis.". Clinical and experimental immunology 138 (2): 195–201. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2004.02611.x. PMC 1809205. PMID 15498026. 
  5. ^ Rubins, JB; Paddock, AH, Charboneau, D, Berry, AM, Paton, JC, Janoff, EN (December 1998). "Pneumolysin in pneumococcal adherence and colonization.". Microbial pathogenesis 25 (6): 337–42. doi:10.1006/mpat.1998.0239. PMID 9895272. 
  6. ^ Rubins, JB; Janoff, EN (January 1998). "Pneumolysin: a multifunctional pneumococcal virulence factor.". The Journal of laboratory and clinical medicine 131 (1): 21–7. doi:10.1016/s0022-2143(98)90073-7. PMID 9452123. 
  7. ^ Cockeran, R; Anderson, R; Feldman, C (June 2002). "The role of pneumolysin in the pathogenesis of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection.". Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases 15 (3): 235–9. doi:10.1097/00001432-200206000-00004. PMID 12015456. 
  8. ^ Wheeler, J; Freeman, R; Steward, M; Henderson, K; Lee, MJ; Piggott, NH; Eltringham, GJ; Galloway, A (September 1999). "Detection of pneumolysin in sputum.". Journal of Medical Microbiology 48 (9): 863–6. doi:10.1099/00222615-48-9-863. PMID 10482298. 
  9. ^ Rajalakshmi, B; Kanungo, R; Srinivasan, S; Badrinath, S (Oct–Dec 2002). "Pneumolysin in urine: a rapid antigen detection method to diagnose pneumococcal pneumonia in children.". Indian journal of medical microbiology 20 (4): 183–6. PMID 17657067. 
  10. ^ Matos Jde, A; Madureira, DJ, Rebelo, MC, Hofer, CB, Barroso, DE (August 2006). "Diagnosis of Streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis by polymerase chain reaction amplification of the gene for pneumolysin.". Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 101 (5): 559–63. doi:10.1590/s0074-02762006000500014. PMID 17072463. 
  11. ^ Lahti, E; Mertsola, J; Kontiokari, T; Eerola, E; Ruuskanen, O; Jalava, J (December 2006). "Pneumolysin polymerase chain reaction for diagnosis of pneumococcal pneumonia and empyema in children.". European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases 25 (12): 783–9. doi:10.1007/s10096-006-0225-9. PMID 17089094. 

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