Catch Me if You Can: Streptococcus pyogenes Complement Evasion Strategies

David Ermert, Maisem Laabei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Citations (SciVal)


The human host has evolved elaborate protection mechanisms to prevent infection from the billions of microorganisms to which it host is exposed and is home. One of these systems, complement, is an evolutionary ancient arm of innate immunity essential for combatting bacterial infection. Complement permits the efficient labelling of bacteria with opsonins, supports phagocytosis, and facilitates phagocyte recruitment to the site of infection through the production of chemoattractants. However, it is by no means perfect, and certain organisms engage in an evolutionary arms race with the host where complement has become a major target to promote immune evasion. Streptococcus pyogenes is a major human pathogen that causes significant morbidity and mortality globally. S. pyogenes is also a member of an elite group of bacterial pathogens possessing a sophisticated arsenal of virulence determinants capable of interfering with complement. In this review, we focus on these complement evasins, their mechanism of action, and their importance in disease progression. Finally, we highlight new therapeutic options for fighting S. pyogenes, by interfering with one of its main mechanisms of complement evasion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Innate Immunity
Issue number1
Early online date28 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • Complement
  • Immune evasion
  • Innate immunity
  • M protein
  • Pathogenicity
  • Streptococcus pyogenes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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