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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


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 (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. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  2. Marriott, HM (September 2008). "Pneumolysin: a double-edged sword during the host-pathogen interaction". Current molecular medicine. 8 (6): 497–509. PMID 18781957. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  3. Baba, H (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. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  4. Hirst, RA (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. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  5. Rubins, JB (December 1998). "Pneumolysin in pneumococcal adherence and colonization". Microbial pathogenesis. 25 (6): 337–42. doi:10.1006/mpat.1998.0239. PMID 9895272. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  6. Rubins, JB (January 1998). "Pneumolysin: a multifunctional pneumococcal virulence factor". The Journal of laboratory and clinical medicine. 131 (1): 21–7. PMID 9452123. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  7. Cockeran, R (June 2002). "The role of pneumolysin in the pathogenesis of Streptococcus pneumoniae infection". Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases. 15 (3): 235–9. PMID 12015456. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  8. Wheeler, J (September 1999). "Detection of pneumolysin in sputum". Journal of Medical Microbiology. 48 (9): 863–6. PMID 10482298. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  9. Rajalakshmi, B (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. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  10. Matos Jde, A (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. PMID 17072463. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)
  11. Lahti, E (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. Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (help)