Staphylococcus aureus is a prominent cause of human infections worldwide and is notorious for its ability to acquire resistance to antibiotics. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), in particular, is endemic in hospitals and is the most frequent cause of community-associated bacterial infections in the United States. Inasmuch as treatment options for severe MRSA infections are limited, there is need for a vaccine that protects against such infections. However, recent efforts to generate a staphylococcal vaccine have met with little success in human clinical trials. These failures are somewhat puzzling, since the vaccine antigens tested promote opsonophagocytosis in vitro and confer protection in animal infection models. One possibility is that the pathogen inhibits (and/or fails to elicit) the development of protective immunity in humans. Indeed, S. aureus produces numerous molecules that can potentially promote immune evasion, including protein A (SpA), an immunoglobulin (Ig)-binding protein present on the bacterial surface and freely secreted into the extracellular environment. SpA binds the Fc region of antibody and the Fab regions of the B-cell receptor, processes that are known to block opsonophagocytosis and cause B-cell death in vitro. In a recent study, Falugi et al. [F. Falugi, H. K. Kim, D. M. Missiakas, and O. Schneewind, mBio 4(5):e00575-13, 2013] showed that vaccination with spa mutant S. aureus strains lacking antibody Fc- and/or Fab-binding capacity protects against subsequent challenge with the USA300 epidemic strain. The findings provide strong support for the idea that SpA promotes S. aureus immune evasion in vivo and form the foundation for a new approach in our efforts to develop a vaccine that prevents severe S. aureus infections.
Background. Staphylococcus aureus produces numerous molecules that facilitate survival in the host. We recently identified a novel S. aureus leukotoxin (leukotoxin GH [LukGH]) using proteomics, but its role in virulence remains unclear. Here we investigated the role of LukGH in vivo.
Methods. We tested cytotoxicity of LukGH toward polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs) from mice, rabbits, monkeys, and humans. LukGH was administered to mice, rabbits, and a cynomolgus monkey by subcutaneous or intradermal injection to assess cytotoxicity or host response in vivo. The effects of LukGH in vivo were compared with those of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), a well-characterized S. aureus leukotoxin. The contribution of LukGH to S. aureus infection was tested using mouse and rabbit infection models.
Results. Susceptibility of PMNs to LukGH was similar between humans and cynomolgus monkeys, and was greater than that of rabbits, which in turn was greater than that of mice. LukGH or PVL caused skin inflammation in rabbits and a monkey, but deletion of neither lukGH nor lukGH and lukS/F-PV reduced severity of USA300 infections in rabbits or mice. Rather, some disease parameters (eg, rabbit abscess size) were increased following infection with a lukGH and lukS/F-PV deletion strain.
Conclusions. Our findings indicate that S. aureus leukotoxins enhance the host inflammatory response and influence the outcome of infection.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is abundant in hospitals and in the United States is a leading cause of mortality due to infectious agents. Community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) strains such as USA300, which typically cause disease outside of healthcare settings, are also prevalent in the United States. Although most CA-MRSA infections affect skin and soft tissue, the pathogen can enter the bloodstream and ultimately cause severe disease. In a recent paper, we used USA300-specific microarrays to generate a comprehensive view of the molecules that facilitate S. aureus immune evasion and survival in human blood. Notably, genes encoding proteins involved in iron-uptake and utilization and gamma-hemolysin (hlgABC) are highly upregulated by USA300 during culture in human blood. Here we discuss the potential implication of these findings and the possible role of gammahemolysin in the success of S. aureus as a human pathogen.
Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA; blood transcriptome; gammahemolysin; leukotoxin; neutrophil
Neutrophils constitute a critical part of innate immunity and are well known for their ability to phagocytose and kill invading microorganisms. The microbicidal processes employed by neutrophils are highly effective at killing most ingested bacteria and fungi. However, an alternative non-phagocytic antimicrobial mechanism of neutrophils has been proposed whereby microorganisms are eliminated by neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs are comprised of DNA, histones, and antimicrobial proteins extruded by neutrophils during NETosis, a cell death pathway reported to be distinct from apoptosis, phagocytosis-induced cell death, and necrosis. Although multiple laboratories have reported NETs using various stimuli in vitro, the molecular mechanisms involved in this process have yet to be definitively elucidated, and many questions regarding the formation and putative role or function of NETs in innate host defense remain unanswered. It is with these questions in mind that we provide some reflection and perspective on NETs and NETosis.
neutrophil; apoptosis; necrosis; phagocytosis; inflammation
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is endemic in hospitals worldwide and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Healthcare-associated MRSA infections occur in individuals with predisposing risk factors for disease, such as surgery or presence of an indwelling medical device. By contrast, community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) infections often occur in otherwise healthy individuals who lack such risk factors. In addition, CA-MRSA infections are epidemic in some countries. These observations suggest that CA-MRSA strains are more virulent and transmissible than traditional hospital-associated MRSA strains. Relatively limited treatment options for CA-MRSA infections compound the problem of enhanced virulence and transmission. Although progress has been made toward understanding emergence of CA-MRSA, virulence, and treatment of infections, our knowledge in these areas remains incomplete. Here were review the most current knowledge in these areas and provide perspective on future outlook for prophylaxis and/or new therapies for CA-MRSA infections.
Staphylococcus aureus is the leading cause of bacterial infections in developed countries and produces a wide spectrum of diseases, ranging from minor skin infections to fatal necrotizing pneumonia. Although S. aureus infections were historically treatable with common antibiotics, emergence of drug-resistant organisms is now a major concern. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) was endemic in hospitals by the late 1960s, but it appeared rapidly and unexpectedly in communities in the 1990s and is now prevalent worldwide. This Review focuses on progress made toward understanding the success of community-associated MRSA as a human pathogen, with an emphasis on genome-wide approaches and virulence determinants.
The innate immune system is the first line of host defense against invading microorganisms. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs or neutrophils) are the most abundant leukocyte in humans and essential to the innate immune response against invading pathogens. Compared to the acquired immune response, which requires time to develop and is dependent on previous interaction with specific microbes, the ability of neutrophils to kill microorganisms is immediate, non-specific, and not dependent on previous exposure to microorganisms. Historically, studies of PMN-pathogen interaction focused on the events leading to killing of microorganisms, such as recruitment/chemotaxis, transmigration, phagocytosis, and activation, whereas post-phagocytosis sequelae were infrequently considered. In addition, it was widely accepted that human neutrophils possessed limited capacity for new gene transcription and thus, relatively little biosynthetic capacity. This notion has changed dramatically within the past decade. Further, there is now more effort directed to understand the events occurring in PMNs after killing of microbes. Herein we review the systems biology-level approaches that have been used to gain an enhanced view of the role of neutrophils during host-pathogen interaction. We anticipate that these and future systems-level studies will ultimately will provide information critical to our understanding, treatment, and control of diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms.
Neutrophil; phagocytosis; microarray; inflammation; apoptosis
Increases in the incidence and severity of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections have spawned efforts to define unique virulence properties among prevalent strains. Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), a pore-forming cytotoxin, has garnered attention due to its epidemiologic association with CA-MRSA. Using the clinical isolate LAC, representative of the epidemic USA300 strain, and its isogenic PVL-negative strain in murine models of staphylococcal skin infection and pneumonia, we have extended recent studies by assessing the contribution of PVL in the BALB/c genetic background. The data herein support the observation that PVL does not contribute to the pathogenesis of staphylococcal infection of mice.
Community-associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA); Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL); USA300; skin infection; pneumonia; animal models
Staphylococcus aureus is a frequent cause of serious infections and also a human commensal. The emergence of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus led to a dramatic increase in skin and soft tissue infections worldwide. This epidemic has been driven by a limited number of clones, such as USA300 in the United States. To better understand the extent of USA300 evolution and diversification within communities, we performed comparative whole-genome sequencing of three clinical and five colonizing USA300 isolates collected longitudinally from three unrelated households over a 15-month period. Phylogenetic analysis that incorporated additional geographically diverse USA300 isolates indicated that all but one likely arose from a common recent ancestor. Although limited genetic adaptation occurred over the study period, the greatest genetic heterogeneity occurred between isolates from different households and within one heavily colonized household. This diversity allowed for a more accurate tracking of interpersonal USA300 transmission. Sequencing of persisting USA300 isolates revealed mutations in genes involved in major aspects of S. aureus function: adhesion, cell wall biosynthesis, virulence, and carbohydrate metabolism. Genetic variations also included accumulation of multiple polymorphisms within select genes of two multigene operons, suggestive of small genome rearrangements rather than de novo single point mutations. Such rearrangements have been underappreciated in S. aureus and may represent novel means of strain variation. Subtle genetic changes may contribute to USA300 fitness and persistence. Elucidation of small genome rearrangements reveals a potentially new and intriguing mechanism of directed S. aureus genome diversification in environmental niches and during pathogen–host interactions.
evolution; genome rearrangement; repeat deletions
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections are frequently associated with strains harboring genes encoding Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL). The role of PVL in the success of the epidemic CA-MRSA strain USA300 remains unknown. Here we developed a skin and soft tissue infection model in rabbits to test the hypothesis that PVL contributes to USA300 pathogenesis and compare it with well-established virulence determinants: alpha-hemolysin (Hla), phenol-soluble modulin-alpha peptides (PSMα), and accessory gene regulator (Agr). The data indicate that Hla, PSMα, and Agr contribute to the pathogenesis of USA300 skin infections in rabbits, whereas a role for PVL could not be detected.
Acetic acid bacteria were previously considered nonpathogenic in humans. However, over the past decade, five genera of Acetobacteraceae have been isolated from patients with inborn or iatrogenic immunodeficiencies. Here, we describe the first studies of the interactions of the human innate immune system with a member of this bacterial family, Granulibacter bethesdensis, an emerging pathogen in patients with chronic granulomatous disease (CGD). Efficient phagocytosis of G. bethesdensis by normal and CGD polymorphonuclear leukocytes (CGD PMN) required heat-labile serum components (e.g., C3), and binding of C3 and C9 to G. bethesdensis was detected by immunoblotting. However, this organism survived in human serum concentrations of ≥90%, indicating a high degree of serum resistance. Consistent with the clinical host tropism of G. bethesdensis, CGD PMN were unable to kill this organism, while normal PMN, in the presence of serum, reduced the number of CFU by about 50% after a 24-h coculture. This finding, together with the observations that G. bethesdensis was sensitive to H2O2 but resistant to LL-37, a human cationic antimicrobial peptide, suggests an inherent resistance to O2-independent killing. Interestingly, 10 to 100 times greater numbers of G. bethesdensis were required to achieve the same level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production induced by Escherichia coli in normal PMN. In addition to the relative inability of the organism to elicit production of PMN ROS, G. bethesdensis inhibited both constitutive and FAS-induced PMN apoptosis. These properties of reduced PMN activation and resistance to nonoxidative killing mechanisms likely play an important role in G. bethesdensis pathogenesis.
The impact of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) on the outcome in Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia is controversial. We genotyped S. aureus isolates from patients with hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) enrolled in two registrational multinational clinical trials for the genetic elements carrying pvl and 30 other virulence genes. A total of 287 isolates (173 methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA] and 114 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus [MSSA] isolates) from patients from 127 centers in 34 countries for whom clinical outcomes of cure or failure were available underwent genotyping. Of these, pvl was detected by PCR and its product confirmed in 23 isolates (8.0%) (MRSA, 18/173 isolates [10.4%]; MSSA, 5/114 isolates [4.4%]). The presence of pvl was not associated with a higher risk for clinical failure (4/23 [17.4%] versus 48/264 [18.2%]; P = 1.00) or mortality. These findings persisted after adjustment for multiple potential confounding variables. No significant associations between clinical outcome and (i) presence of any of the 30 other virulence genes tested, (ii) presence of specific bacterial clone, (iii) levels of alpha-hemolysin, or (iv) delta-hemolysin production were identified. This study suggests that neither pvl presence nor in vitro level of alpha-hemolysin production is the primary determinant of outcome among patients with HAP caused by S. aureus.
is a human commensal bacterium and a prominent cause of infections globally. The high incidence of
infections is compounded by the ability of the microbe to readily acquire resistance to antibiotics. In the United States, methicillin-resistant
S. aureus (MRSA) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality by a single infectious agent. Therapeutic options for severe MRSA infections are limited to a few antibiotics to which the organism is typically susceptible, including vancomycin. Acquisition of high-level vancomycin resistance by MRSA is a major concern, but to date, there have been only 12 vancomycin-resistant
S. aureus (VRSA) isolates reported in the United States and all belong to a phylogenetic lineage known as clonal complex 5. To gain enhanced understanding of the genetic characteristics conducive to the acquisition of vancomycin resistance by
S. aureus, V. N. Kos et al. performed whole-genome sequencing of all 12 VRSA isolates and compared the DNA sequences to the genomes of other
strains. The findings provide new information about the evolutionary history of VRSA and identify genetic features that may bear on the relationship between
clonal complex 5 strains and the acquisition of vancomycin resistance genes from enterococci.
The current pandemic of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) skin infections is caused by several genetically unrelated clones. Here, we analyzed virulence of globally occurring CA-MRSA strains in a rabbit skin infection model. We used rabbits because neutrophils from this animal species have relatively high sensitivity to Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), a toxin epidemiologically correlated with many CA-MRSA infections. Virulence in the rabbit model correlated with in-vitro neutrophil lysis and transcript levels of phenol-soluble modulin α and α-toxin, but not PVL genes. Furthermore, abscesses caused by USA300 and its PVL-negative progenitor USA500 were comparatively large and similar in size, suggesting PVL has had a limited role in the evolution of USA300 virulence in the context of skin infections. Our study indicates a major but not exclusive impact of virulence on the epidemiological success of USA300 and other CA-MRSA strains and emphasizes the importance of core genome-encoded toxins in CA-MRSA skin infections.
Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA; community-associated infections; agr; alpha-toxin; phenol-soluble modulin; Panton-Valentine leukocidin
The current pandemic of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) skin infections is caused by several genetically unrelated clones. Here, we analyzed virulence of globally occurring CA-MRSA strains in a rabbit skin infection model. We used rabbits because neutrophils from this animal species have relatively high sensitivity to Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), a toxin epidemiologically correlated with many CA-MRSA infections. Virulence in the rabbit model correlated with in vitro neutrophil lysis and transcript levels of phenol-soluble modulin a and a-toxin, but not PVL genes. Furthermore, abscesses caused by USA300 and its PVL-negative progenitor USA500 were comparatively large and similar in size, suggesting that PVL has played a limited role in the evolution of USA300 virulence in the context of skin infections. Our study indicates a major but not exclusive impact of virulence on the epidemiological success of USA300 and other CA-MRSA strains and emphasizes the importance of core genome-encoded toxins in CA-MRSA skin infections.
Staphylococcus aureus has been an important human pathogen throughout history and is currently a leading cause of bacterial infections worldwide. S. aureus has the unique ability to cause a continuum of diseases, ranging from minor skin infections to fatal necrotizing pneumonia. Moreover, the emergence of highly virulent, drug-resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus in both healthcare and community settings is a major therapeutic concern. Neutrophils are the most prominent cellular component of the innate immune system and provide an essential primary defense against bacterial pathogens such as S. aureus. Neutrophils are rapidly recruited to sites of infection where they bind and ingest invading S. aureus, and this process triggers potent oxidative and non-oxidative antimicrobial killing mechanisms that serve to limit pathogen survival and dissemination. S. aureus has evolved numerous mechanisms to evade host defense strategies employed by neutrophils, including the ability to modulate normal neutrophil turnover, a process critical to the resolution of acute inflammation. Here we provide an overview of the role of neutrophils in host defense against bacterial pathogens and discuss strategies employed by S. aureus to circumvent neutrophil function.
Staphylococcus aureus; MRSA; Neutrophil; Immune evasion
Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections are predominantly those affecting skin and soft tissues. Although progress has been made, our knowledge of the molecules that contribute to the pathogenesis of CA-MRSA skin infections is incomplete. Here we tested the hypothesis that alpha-hemolysin (Hla) contributes to severity of USA300 skin infections in mice and determined whether vaccination against Hla reduces disease severity. Compared with wild-type USA300 and Newman strains, isogenic hla-negative (Δhla) strains caused significantly smaller skin lesions in a mouse infection model. Moreover, infection with wild-type strains produced dermonecrotic skin lesions, whereas there was little or no dermonecrosis in mice infected with Δhla strains. Passive immunization with Hla-specific antisera or active immunization with a non-toxigenic form of Hla significantly reduced the size of skin lesions caused by USA300 and prevented dermonecrosis. We conclude Hla is a potential target for therapeutics or vaccines designed to moderate severe S. aureus skin infections.
alpha-hemolysin; MRSA; skin infection; Staphylococcus aureus; vaccine
Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization is an important risk factor for community and nosocomial infection. Despite the importance of S. aureus to human health, molecular mechanisms and host factors influencing nasal colonization are not well understood. To identify host factors contributing to nasal colonization, we collected human nasal secretions and analyzed their ability to promote S. aureus surface colonization. Some individuals produced secretions possessing the ability to significantly promote S. aureus surface colonization. Nasal secretions pretreated with protease no longer promoted S. aureus surface colonization, suggesting the involvement of protein factors. The major protein components of secretions were identified and subsequent analysis revealed that hemoglobin possessed the ability to promote S. aureus surface colonization. Immunoprecipitation of hemoglobin from nasal secretions resulted in reduced S. aureus surface colonization. Furthermore, exogenously added hemoglobin significantly decreased the inoculum necessary for nasal colonization in a rodent model. Finally, we found that hemoglobin prevented expression of the agr quorum sensing system and that aberrant constitutive expression of the agr effector molecule, RNAIII, resulted in reduced nasal colonization of S. aureus. Collectively our results suggest that the presence of hemoglobin in nasal secretions contributes to S. aureus nasal colonization.
Staphylococcus aureus is a medically important human pathogen that is found in the nasal passages of approximately 1/3 of the population. The nose serves as a reservoir for spread of this pathogen and predisposes the host to potential infection. Factors contributing to S. aureus nasal colonization are only beginning to be elucidated. The collection and analysis of human nasal secretions provided evidence that the presence of hemoglobin in nasal secretions can promote S. aureus nasal colonization. Hemoglobin reduced expression of the S. aureus agr quorum sensing regulatory system known to be involved in surface colonization, and it was found that induction of the agr system reduced nasal colonization. These findings suggest that individuals experiencing frequent nosebleeds would be prone to S. aureus colonization and epidemiological data supports these findings. By understanding host factors and bacterial molecular mechanisms involved in nasal colonization we may one day be able to design novel decolonization strategies.
The virulence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is multifactorial and under the control of quorum sensing signals, such as acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs). The importance of these molecules in the establishment of infection has been previously reported. These molecules either improve the virulence potential of P. aeruginosa or modulate the host immune response. To establish the immune modulating potential of quorum sensing signal molecules, previous studies have only used synthetic AHLs. However, there can be differences in the biological properties of synthetic and natural AHLs. The use of naturally extracted AHLs from the culture supernatant of P. aeruginosa is likely to simulate natural conditions more than the use of synthetic AHLs. Therefore, in the present study, the immune modulating potential of synthetic and naturally extracted AHLs was compared using a thymidine uptake assay, immunophenotyping and sandwich ELISA in order to assess mouse T-cell proliferation and production of Th1 and Th2 cytokines. Natural AHLs were able to suppress T-cell proliferation, even at low concentrations, compared to synthetic AHLs. The majority of cells undergoing proliferation were CD4+, as revealed by immunophenotyping. The inhibition of T-cells was stronger with natural AHLs compared to synthetic AHLs. Moreover, the natural AHLs were also able to shift immune responses away from host protective Th1 responses to pathogen protective Th2 responses.
Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) is a cytolytic toxin associated with severe community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections. However, the relative contribution of PVL to host cell lysis during CA-MRSA infection remains unknown. Here we investigated the relative contribution of PVL to human polymorphonuclear leukocyte (PMN) plasma membrane permeability and lysis in vitro by using culture supernatants from wild-type and isogenic lukS/F-PV-negative (Δpvl) USA300 and USA400 strains. Using S. aureus culture conditions that favor selective high production of PVL (CCY media), there was on average more PMN plasma membrane permeability and cell lysis caused by supernatants derived from wild-type strains compared with those from Δpvl strains. Unexpectedly, plasma membrane permeability did not necessarily correlate with ultimate cell lysis. Moreover, the level of pore formation caused by culture supernatants varied dramatically (e.g., range was 0.32–99.09% for wild-type USA300 supernatants at 30 min) and was not attributable to differences in PMN susceptibility to PVL among human blood donors. We conclude that PMN pore formation assays utilizing S. aureus culture supernatants have limited ability to estimate the relative contribution of PVL to pathogenesis (or cytolysis in vitro or in vivo), especially when assayed using culture media that promotes selective high production of PVL.
STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS; VIRULENCE; LEUKOCIDINS
A community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strain known as pulsed-field type USA300 (USA300) is epidemic in the United States. Previous comparative whole-genome sequencing studies demonstrated that there has been recent clonal emergence of a subset of USA300 isolates, which comprise the epidemic clone. Although the core genomes of these isolates are closely related, the level of diversity among USA300 plasmids was not resolved. Inasmuch as these plasmids might contribute to significant gene diversity among otherwise closely related USA300 isolates, we performed de novo sequencing of endogenous plasmids from 10 previously characterized USA300 clinical isolates obtained from different geographic locations in the United States. All isolates tested contained small (2- to 3-kb) and/or large (27- to 30-kb) plasmids. The large plasmids encoded heavy metal and/or antimicrobial resistance elements, including those that confer resistance to cadmium, bacitracin, macrolides, penicillin, kanamycin, and streptothricin, although all isolates were sensitive to minocycline, doxycycline, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, vancomycin, teicoplanin, and linezolid. One of the USA300 isolates contained an archaic plasmid that encoded staphylococcal enterotoxins R, J, and P. Notably, the large plasmids (27 to 28 kb) from 8 USA300 isolates—those that comprise the epidemic USA300 clone—were virtually identical (99% identity) and similar to a large plasmid from strain USA300_TCH1516 (a previously sequenced USA300 strain from Houston, TX). These plasmids are largely divergent from the 37-kb plasmid of FPR3757, the first sequenced USA300 strain. The high level of plasmid sequence identity among the majority of closely related USA300 isolates is consistent with the recent clonal emergence hypothesis for USA300.
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is a Gram-positive human pathogen best known for causing pharyngeal and mild skin infections. However, in the 1980's there was an increase in severe GAS infections including cellulitis and deeper tissue infections like necrotizing fasciitis. Particularly striking about this elevation in the incidence of severe disease was that those most often affected were previously healthy individuals. Several groups have shown that changes in gene content or regulation, as with proteases, may contribute to severe disease; yet strains harboring these proteases continue to cause mild disease as well. We and others have shown that group A streptococci (MGAS5005) reside within biofilms both in vitro and in vivo. That is to say that the organism colonizes a host surface and forms a 3-dimensional community encased in a protective matrix of extracellular protein, DNA and polysaccharide(s). However, the mechanism of assembly or dispersal of these structures is unclear, as is the relationship of these structures to disease outcome. Recently we reported that allelic replacement of the streptococcal regulator srv resulted in constitutive production of the streptococcal cysteine protease SpeB. We further showed that the constitutive production of SpeB significantly decreased MGAS5005Δsrv biofilm formation in vitro. Here we show that mice infected with MGAS5005Δsrv had significantly larger lesion development than wild-type infected animals. Histopathology, Gram-staining and immunofluorescence link the increased lesion development with lack of disease containment, lack of biofilm formation, and readily detectable levels of SpeB in the tissue. Treatment of MGAS5005Δsrv infected lesions with a chemical inhibitor of SpeB significantly reduced lesion formation and disease spread to wild-type levels. Furthermore, inactivation of speB in the MGAS5005Δsrv background reduced lesion formation to wild-type levels. Taken together, these data suggest a mechanism by which GAS disease may transition from mild to severe through the Srv mediated dispersal of GAS biofilms.
Staphylococcus aureus is a significant cause of human infections globally. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) emerged in the early 1960s and is now endemic in most healthcare facilities. Although healthcare-associated MRSA infections remain a major problem in most industrialized countries, those caused by community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) are now the most abundant cause of bacterial infections in the community in some parts of the world, such as the United States. The basis for the emergence and subsequent success of CA-MRSA is incompletely defined. However, the ability of the pathogen to cause disease in otherwise healthy individuals is likely attributed, in part, to its ability to circumvent killing by the innate immune system, which includes survival after phagocytosis by neutrophils. In this review, we discuss the role of neutrophils in host defense against S. aureus and highlight progress made toward understanding mechanisms of CA-MRSA virulence and pathogenesis.
Neutrophil; Virulence; Host defense; Staphylococcus aureus; CA-MRSA; Innate immunity; Infection
Many SCCmec elements of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) could not be typed using multiplex PCR. Such a ‘non-typable’ SCCmec was encountered in a Staphylococcus cohnii isolate.
The SCCmec type of methicillin-resistant S. cohnii clinical isolate WC28 could not be assigned using multiplex PCR. Newly-designed primers were used to amplify ccrA and ccrB genes. The whole SCCmec was obtained by three overlapping long-range PCR, targeting regions from left-hand inverted repeat (IRL) to ccrA/B, from ccrA/B to mecA and from mecA to orfX. The region abutting IRL was identified using inverse PCR with self-ligated enzyme-restricted WC28 fragments as the template. WC28 SCCmec had a class A mec gene complex (mecI-mecR1-mecA). The ccrA and ccrB genes were closest (89.7% identity) to ccrASHP of Staphylococcus haemolyticus strain H9 and to ccrB3 (90% identity) of Staphylococcus pseudintermedius strain KM241, respectively. Two new genes potentially encoding AAA-type ATPase were found in J1 region and a ψTn554 transposon was present in J2 region, while J3 region was the same as many SCCmec of Staphylococcus aureus. WC28 SCCmec abutted an incomplete SCC element with a novel allotype of ccrC, which was closest (82% identity) to ccrC1 allele 9 in Staphylococcus saprophyticus strain ATCC 15305. Only two direct target repeat sequences, one close to the 3′-end of orfX and the other abutting the left end of WC28 SCCmec, could be detected.
A new 35-kb SCCmec was characterized in a S. cohnii isolate, carrying a class A mec gene complex, new variants of ccrA5 and ccrB3 and two novel genes in the J1 region. This element is flanked by 8-bp perfect inverted repeats and is similar to type III SCCmec in S. aureus and a SCCmec in S. pseudintermedius but with different J1 and J3 regions. WC28 SCCmec was arranged in tandem with an additional SCC element with ccrC, SCCWC28, but the two elements might have integrated independently rather than constituted a composite. This study adds new evidence of the diversity of SCCmec in CoNS and highlights the need for characterizing the ‘non-typable’ SCCmec to reveal the gene pool associated with mecA.