Streptococcal throat infection is associated with a specific variant of psoriasis and with HLA-Cw6 expression. In this study, activation of circulating psoriatic cutaneous lymphocyte-associated antigen (CLA) + memory T cells cultured together with epidermal cells occurred only when streptococcal throat extracts were added. This triggered the production of Th1, Th17, and Th22 cytokines, as well as epidermal cell mediators (CXCL8, CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11). Streptococcal extracts (SEs) did not induce any activation with either CLA - cells or memory T cells cultured together with epidermal cells from healthy subjects. Intradermal injection of activated culture supernatants into mouse skin induced epidermal hyperplasia. SEs also induced activation when we used epidermal cells from nonlesional skin of psoriatic patients with CLA + memory T cells. Significant correlations were found between SE induced upregulation of mRNA expression for ifn-γ, il-17, il-22, ip-10, and serum level of antistreptolysin O in psoriatic patients. This study demonstrates the direct involvement of streptococcal infection in pathological mechanisms of psoriasis, such as IL-17 production and epidermal cell activation. © 2013 The Society for Investigative Dermatology.