Staphylococcus lugdunensis is an important human pathogen that causes potentially fatal endocarditis, osteomyelitis and skin and soft tissue infections similar to diseases caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Nevertheless, in contrast to S. aureus, data on pathogenicity factors of S. lugdunensis is scarce. Two adhesins, a fibrinogen and a von Willebrand factor binding protein, and a S. lugdunensis synergistic hemolysin (SLUSH) have been previously described. Moreover, the newly sequenced genome of S. lugdunensis revealed genes of other putative fibrinogen binding adhesins and hemolysins. The aim of this study was to gain more insight into the occurrence of genes likely coding for fibrinogen binding adhesins and hemolysins using clinical strains of S. lugdunensis.
Most of the putative adhesin genes and hemolysin genes investigated in this study were highly prevalent, except for the SLUSH gene cluster. In contrast to previous reports, binding to fibrinogen was detected in 29.3% of the S. lugdunensis strains. In most strains, hemolysis on blood agar plates was weak after 24 h and distinct after 48 h of incubation. The fibrinogen binding and hemolysis phenotypes were also independent of the type of clinical specimen, from which the isolates were obtained.
In this study we described a pyrrolidonyl arylamidase negative S. lugdunensis isolate. Our data indicate that a matrix-assisted laser desorption ionisation time-of-flight MS-based identification of S. lugdunensis or species-specific PCR's should be performed in favour of pyrrolidonyl arylamidase testing. In contrast to the high occurrence of putative fibrinogen binding protein genes, 29.3% of the S. lugdunensis strains bound to fibrinogen. Putative hemolysin genes were also prevalent in most of the S. lugdunensis strains, irrespective of their hemolysis activity on Columbia blood agar plates. Similar to a previous report, hemolysis after 48 h of incubation is also indicative for S. lugdunensis. The SLUSH gene cluster was detected in an estimated 50% of the strains, indicating that this locus is different or non-prevalent in many strains.