• aa, amino acid(s);
  • C-, carboxy;
  • ChBD, choline-binding domain;
  • ChBP, choline-binding protein;
  • ChBR, choline-binding repeat;
  • C-LytA, the C-terminal moiety of LytA;
  • C5Mtase, cytosine 5-methyltrasferase;
  • CP, capsular polysaccharide;
  • CSP, competence-stimulating peptide;
  • CWH, cell wall hydrolase;
  • IS, insertion sequence;
  • N-, amino-;
  • nt, nucleotide(s);
  • SP, signal peptide;
  • TA, teichoic acid(s);
  • ORF, open reading frame;
  • UDP-Glc, uridine diphosphoglucose
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae;
  • Capsular polysaccharide;
  • Cell wall hydrolases;
  • Phage;
  • Virulence factors


Streptococcus pneumoniae has re-emerged as a major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world and its continuous increase in antimicrobial resistance is rapidly becoming a leading cause of concern for public health. This review is focussed on the analysis of recent insights on the study of capsular polysaccharide biosynthesis, and cell wall (murein) hydrolases, two fundamental pneumococcal virulence factors. Besides, we have also re-evaluated the molecular biology of the pneumococcal phage, their possible role in pathogenicity and in the shaping of natural populations of S. pneumoniae. Precise knowledge of the topics reviewed here should facilitate the rationale to move towards the design of alternative ways to combat pneumococcal disease.