PROSITE documentation PDOC00250
Staphylococcal enterotoxins / Streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxins signatures


Staphylococcal enterotoxins and streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxins constitute a family of biologically and structurally related toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes [1,2]. These toxins share the ability to bind to the major histocompatibility complex proteins of their hosts. The toxins that belong to this family are:

  • Staphylococcal enterotoxins are the cause of staphylococcal food poisoning syndrome. The sequence of six different enterotoxins is known: SEA, SEB, SEC1, SEC3, SED, and SEE.
  • Streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxins are the causative agents of the symptoms associated with scarlet fever. The sequence of two pyrogenic exotoxins is known: SPEA, and SPEC.
  • Staphylococcus aureus toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1).

While the enterotoxins and the pyrogenic exotoxins are closely related, TSST-1 seems to be only distantly related to the other toxins. We developed two patterns for this family of toxins. The first one is based on a well conserved region of enterotoxins and pyrogenic exotoxins, but which does not pick up TSST-1; the second pattern is derived from a more diffuse region of similarity common to all these toxins.

Last update:

April 2006 / Pattern revised.


Technical section

PROSITE methods (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

STAPH_STREP_TOXIN_1, PS00277; Staphylococcal enterotoxin/Streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin signature 1  (PATTERN)

STAPH_STREP_TOXIN_2, PS00278; Staphyloccocal enterotoxin/Streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin signature 2  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsIandolo J.J.
TitleGenetic analysis of extracellular toxins of Staphylococcus aureus.
SourceAnnu. Rev. Microbiol. 43:375-402(1989).
PubMed ID2679358

2AuthorsMarrack P. Kappler J.
TitleThe staphylococcal enterotoxins and their relatives.
SourceScience 248:705-711(1990).
PubMed ID2185544

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