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1.  Virulence of Endemic Nonpigmented Northern Australian Staphylococcus aureus Clone (Clonal Complex 75, S. argenteus) Is Not Augmented by Staphyloxanthin 
The Journal of Infectious Diseases  2013;208(3):520-527.
Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex 75 (herein referred to as S. argenteus) lacks the carotenoid pigment operon, crtOPQMN, responsible for production of the putative virulence factor, staphyloxanthin. Although a common cause of community-onset skin infections among Indigenous populations in northern Australia, this clone is infrequently isolated from hospital-based patients with either bacteremic or nonbacteremic infections. We hypothesized that S. argenteus would have attenuated virulence compared to other S. aureus strains due to its staphyloxanthin “deficiency.” Compared to prototypical S. aureus strains, S. argenteus was more susceptible to oxidative stress and neutrophil killing in vitro and had reduced virulence in murine sepsis and skin infection models. Transformation with pTX-crtOPQMN resulted in staphyloxanthin expression and increased resistance to oxidative stress in vitro. However, neither resistance to neutrophil killing nor in vivo virulence was increased. Thus, reduced virulence of S. argenteus in these models is due to mechanisms unrelated to lack of staphyloxanthin production.
doi:10.1093/infdis/jit173
PMCID: PMC3699000  PMID: 23599317
Staphylococcus aureus; staphyloxanthin; virulence; Australia; carotenoid pigment
2.  High-Dose Daptomycin Therapy for Left-Sided Infective Endocarditis: a Prospective Study from the International Collaboration on Endocarditis 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2013;57(12):6213-6222.
The use of daptomycin in Gram-positive left-sided infective endocarditis (IE) has significantly increased. The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of high-dose daptomycin on the outcome of left-sided IE due to Gram-positive pathogens. This was a prospective cohort study based on 1,112 cases from the International Collaboration on Endocarditis (ICE)-Plus database and the ICE-Daptomycin Substudy database from 2008 to 2010. Among patients with left-sided IE due to Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative staphylococci, and Enterococcus faecalis, we compared those treated with daptomycin (cohort A) to those treated with standard-of-care (SOC) antibiotics (cohort B). The primary outcome was in-hospital mortality. Time to clearance of bacteremia, 6-month mortality, and adverse events (AEs) ascribable to daptomycin were also assessed. There were 29 and 149 patients included in cohort A and cohort B, respectively. Baseline comorbidities did not differ between the two cohorts, except for a significantly higher prevalence of diabetes and previous episodes of IE among patients treated with daptomycin. The median daptomycin dose was 9.2 mg/kg of body weight/day. Two-thirds of the patients treated with daptomycin had failed a previous antibiotic regimen. In-hospital and 6-month mortalities were similar in the two cohorts. In cohort A, median time to clearance of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bacteremia was 1.0 day, irrespective of daptomycin dose, representing a significantly faster bacteremia clearance compared to SOC (1.0 versus 5.0 days; P < 0.01). Regimens with higher daptomycin doses were not associated with increased incidence of AEs. In conclusion, higher-dose daptomycin may be an effective and safe alternative to SOC in the treatment of left-sided IE due to common Gram-positive pathogens.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01563-13
PMCID: PMC3837915  PMID: 24080644
3.  Clinical Presentation, Etiology and Outcome of Infective Endocarditis in the 21st Century: The International Collaboration on Endocarditis-Prospective Cohort Study 
Archives of internal medicine  2009;169(5):463-473.
Background
The aim of this study was to provide a contemporary picture of the presentation, etiology and outcome of infective endocarditis (IE) in a large patient cohort from multiple locations worldwide.
Methods
Prospective cohort study of 2781 adults with definite IE admitted to 58 hospitals in 25 countries between June 2000 and September 2005.
Results
The median age of the cohort was 57.9 (IQR 43.2–71.8) years and 72% had native valve IE. Most (77%) patients presented early in the disease (<30 days) with few of the classic clinical hallmarks of IE. Recent health-care exposure was found in one quarter of patients. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen (31%). Mitral (41%) and aortic (38%) valves were infected most commonly. Complications were common: stroke (17%); embolization other than stroke (23%); heart failure (32%) and intracardiac abscess (14%). Surgical therapy was common (48%) and in-hospital mortality remained high (18%). Prosthetic valve involvement (OR 1.47, 95%CI 1.13–1.90), increasing age (OR 1.30, 95%CI 1.17–1.46 per 10-year interval), pulmonary edema (OR 1.79, 95%CI 1.39–2.30), S. aureus infection (OR 1.54, 95%CI 1.14–2.08), coagulase-negative staphylococcal infection (OR 1.50, 95%CI 1.07–2.10), mitral valve vegetation (OR 1.34, 95%CI 1.06–1.68), and paravalvular complications (OR 2.25, 95%CI 1.64–3.09) were associated with increased risk of in-hospital death, while viridans streptococcal infection (OR 0.52, 95%CI 0.33–0.81) and surgery (OR 0.61, 95%CI 0.44–0.83) were associated with decreased risk.
Conclusions
In the early 21st century, IE is more often an acute disease, characterized by a high rate of S. aureus infection. Mortality remains relatively high.
doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2008.603
PMCID: PMC3625651  PMID: 19273776
4.  Combinatorial Phenotypic Signatures Distinguish Persistent from Resolving Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia Isolates ▿  
Persistent methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia (PB) (positive blood cultures after ≥7 days of therapy) represents a clinically challenging subset of invasive MRSA infections. In this investigation, we examined the potential correlation of specific virulence signatures with PB versus resolving MRSA bacteremia (RB) (negative blood cultures within 2 to 4 days of therapy) strains. Thirty-six MRSA isolates from patients enrolled in a recent multinational clinical trial were studied for (i) susceptibility to host defense cationic peptides (HDPs) (i.e., thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal proteins [tPMPs] and human neutrophil peptide 1 [hNP-1]); (ii) adherence to host endovascular ligands (fibronectin) and cells (endothelial cells); and (iii) biofilm formation. We found that PB isolates exhibited significantly reduced susceptibilities to tPMPs and hNP-1 (P < 0.001 and P = 0.023, respectively). There was no significant association between the PB outcome and fibronectin binding, endothelial cell binding, or biofilm formation (P = 0.25, 0.97, and 0.064 versus RB strains, respectively). However, multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that the PB outcome was significantly associated with the combination of reduced susceptibilities to HDPs and extent of biofilm formation (P < 0.0001). Similar results were obtained in a second analysis using days of bacteremia as a continuous outcome, showing that reduced HDP susceptibilities and increased biofilm formation cocontributed to predict the duration of bacteremia. Our data indicate that PB isolates have specific pathogenic signatures independent of conventional antimicrobial susceptibility. These combinatorial mosaics can be defined and used to prospectively distinguish PB from RB strains in advance and potentially to predict ultimate clinical outcomes.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01028-10
PMCID: PMC3028773  PMID: 21098242
5.  Phenotypic and Genotypic Characteristics of Persistent Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Bacteremia In Vitro and in an Experimental Endocarditis Model 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2009;199(2):201-208.
Background
Persistent MRSA bacteremia (PB) represents an important subset of Staphylococcus aureus infections and correlates with poor clinical outcomes.
Methods
We profiled relevant in vitro phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of MRSA isolates from 39 persons with bacteremia (21 had PB and 18 had resolving bacteremia [RB]). We also compared the intrinsic virulence and responsiveness to vancomycin of selected PB and RB strains in an experimental endocarditis model (IE).
Results
PB and RB isolates differed significantly with regard to several in vitro characteristics that are believed to impact endovascular infections. PB isolates exhibited significantly more resistance to the cationic defensin hNP-1, enhanced membrane fluidity, and substantially greater adhesion to fibronectin, fibrinogen, and endothelial cells. Genotypically, PB isolates had higher frequency of SCCmec II, CC30, and spa 16; and higher rates of agr type III, cap8, tst-1, and cna carriage. Finally, a prototypic PB strain was more resistant to vancomycin treatment in the infective endocarditis model than a RB comparator strain, despite equivalent virulence profiles.
Conclusions
Our findings indicate that PB isolates may have specific virulence signatures that distinguish them from RB isolates. These data suggest that methods might be developed to identify patients at higher risk for PB in real-time, thereby optimizing the effectiveness of anti-MRSA therapeutic strategies.
doi:10.1086/595738
PMCID: PMC2827482  PMID: 19086913
6.  Reduced Susceptibility of Staphylococcus aureus to Vancomycin and Platelet Microbicidal Protein Correlates with Defective Autolysis and Loss of Accessory Gene Regulator (agr) Function 
Loss of agr function, vancomycin exposure, and abnormal autolysis have been linked with both development of the GISA phenotype and low-level resistance in vitro to thrombin-induced platelet microbicidal proteins (tPMPs). We examined the potential in vitro interrelationships among these parameters in well-characterized, isogenic laboratory-derived and clinical Staphylococcus aureus isolates. The laboratory-derived S. aureus strains included RN6607 (agrII-positive parent) and RN6607V (vancomycin-passaged variant; hetero-GISA), RN9120 (RN6607 agr::tetM; agr II knockout parent), RN9120V (vancomycin-passaged variant), and RN9120-GISA (vancomycin passaged, GISA). Two serial isolates from a vancomycin-treated patient with recalcitrant, methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) endocarditis were also studied: A5937 (agrII-positive initial isolate) and A5940 (agrII-defective/hetero-GISA isolate obtained after prolonged vancomycin administration). In vitro tPMP susceptibility phenotypes were assessed after exposure of strains to either 1 or 2 μg/ml. Triton X-100- and vancomycin-induced lysis profiles were determined spectrophotometrically. For agrII-intact strain RN6607, vancomycin exposure in vitro was associated with modest increases in vancomycin MICs and reduced killing by tPMP, but no change in lysis profiles. In contrast, vancomycin exposure of agrII-negative RN9120 yielded a hetero-GISA phenotype and was associated with defects in lysis and reduced in vitro killing by tPMP. In the clinical isolates, loss of agrII function during prolonged vancomycin therapy was accompanied by emergence of the hetero-GISA phenotype and reduced tPMP killing, with no significant change in lysis profiles. An association was identified between loss of agrII function and the emergence of hetero-GISA phenotype during either in vitro or in vivo vancomycin exposure. In vitro, these events were associated with defective lysis and reduced susceptibility to tPMP. The precise mechanism(s) underlying these findings is the subject of current investigations.
doi:10.1128/AAC.49.7.2687-2692.2005
PMCID: PMC1168700  PMID: 15980337
7.  In Vitro Resistance to Thrombin-Induced Platelet Microbicidal Protein among Clinical Bacteremic Isolates of Staphylococcus aureus Correlates with an Endovascular Infectious Source 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  1998;42(12):3169-3172.
Platelet microbicidal proteins (PMPs), small cationic peptides released at sites of endovascular damage, kill common bloodstream pathogens in vitro. Our group previously showed that in vitro resistance of clinical staphylococcal and viridans group streptococcal bacteremic strains to PMPs correlated with the diagnosis of infective endocarditis (IE) (Wu et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 38:729–732, 1994). However, that study was limited by (i) the small number of Staphylococcus aureus isolates from IE patients, (ii) the retrospective nature of the case definitions, and (iii) the diverse geographic sources of strains. The present study evaluated the in vitro PMP susceptibility phenotype of a large number of staphylococcemic isolates (n = 60), collected at a single medical center and categorized by defined and validated clinical criteria. A significantly higher proportion of staphylococcemic strains from patients with IE was PMP resistant in vitro than the proportion of strains from patients with soft tissue sepsis (83% and 33%, respectively; P < 0.01). Moreover, the levels of PMP resistance (mean percent survival of strains after 2-h exposure to PMP in vitro) were significantly higher for isolates from patients with IE and with vascular catheter sepsis than for strains from patients with abscess sepsis (P < 0.005 and P < 0.01, respectively). These data further support the concept that bloodstream pathogens that exhibit innate or acquired PMP resistance have a survival advantage with respect to either the induction or progression of endovascular infections.
PMCID: PMC106018  PMID: 9835510

Results 1-7 (7)