Pathogenesis of Streptococcus infantarius subspecies coli Isolated from Sea Otters with Infective Endocarditis

Katrina L. Counihan, Verena A. Gill, Melissa A. Miller, Kathleen A. Burek-Huntington, Rance B Lefebvre, Barbara A Byrne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Gram positive bacterial coccus Streptococcus infantarius subspecies coli is increasingly linked with development of fatal vegetative infective endocarditis and septicemia in humans, sea otters (. Enhydra lutris) and other animals. However, the pathogenesis of these infections is poorly understood. Using S. infantarius subsp. coli strains isolated from sea otters with infective endocarditis, this study evaluated adherence and invasion of epithelial and endothelial cells, adherence to extracellular matrix components, and macrophage survival. Significant adherence to endothelial-derived cells was observed for 62% of isolates, 24% adhered to epithelial cell lines, and 95% invaded one or both cell types in vitro. The importance of the hyaluronic acid capsule in host cell adherence and invasion was also evaluated. Capsule removal significantly reduced epithelial adherence and invasion for most S. infantarius subsp. coli isolates, suggesting that the capsule facilitates attachment to and invasion of epithelium. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay testing revealed that all isolates adhered significantly to the extracellular matrix components collagen IV, fibronectin, laminin and hyaluronic acid. Finally, significant bacterial survival following phagocytosis by macrophages was apparent for 81% of isolates at one or more time points. Taken collectively these findings indicate that S. infantarius subsp. coli has multiple pathogenic properties that may be important to host colonization, invasion and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-17
Number of pages11
JournalComparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Endothelial
  • Epithelial
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Infective endocarditis
  • Macrophage
  • Pathogenesis
  • S. infantarius subspecies coli
  • Sea otter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • veterinary(all)


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