Superantigens (SAgs) are a class of immunostimulatory exotoxins that activate large numbers of T cells, leading to overproduction of cytokines and subsequent inflammatory reactions and systemic toxicity. Staphylococcal enterotoxin C (SEC), a SAg secreted by Staphylococcus aureus, has been implicated in various illnesses including non-menstrual toxic shock syndrome (TSS) and necrotizing pneumonia. SEC has been shown to cause TSS illness in rabbits and the toxin contributes to lethality associated with methicillin-resistant S.aureus (MRSA) in a rabbit model of pneumonia. With the goal of reducing morbidity and mortality associated with SEC, a high-affinity variant of the extracellular variable domain of the T-cell receptor beta-chain for SEC (∼14 kDa) was generated by directed evolution using yeast display. This protein was characterized biochemically and shown to cross-react with the homologous (65% identical) SAg staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB). The soluble, high-affinity T-cell receptor protein neutralized SEC and SEB in vitro and also significantly reduced the bacterial burden of an SEC-positive strain of MRSA (USA400 MW2) in an infective endocarditis model. The neutralizing agent also prevented lethality due to MW2 in a necrotizing pneumonia rabbit model. These studies characterize a soluble high-affinity neutralizing agent against SEC, which is cross-reactive with SEB, and that has potential to be used intravenously with antibiotics to manage staphylococcal diseases that involve these SAgs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Staphylococcal contamination of food products and staphylococcal foodborne illnesses continue to be a problem worldwide. Screening food for the presence of Staphylococcal aureus and/or enterotoxins using traditional methods is laborious. Reliable and rapid multiplex detection methods from a single food extract or culture supernatant would simplify testing. A fluorescence-based cytometric bead array was developed for the detection of staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) using magnetic microspheres coupled with either an engineered, enterotoxin specific, Vβ domain of the T-cell receptor (Vβ TCR) or polyclonal antibodies. The binding affinity of the Vβ TCR SEB has been shown to be in the picomolar range, comparable to the best monoclonal antibodies. The coupled beads were validated with purified enterotoxins and tested in a variety of food matrices spiked with enterotoxins. The Vβ TCR or antibody was shown to specifically bind SEB in four different food matrices including milk, mashed potatoes, vanilla pudding and cooked chicken. The use of traditional polyclonal antibodies and Vβ TCR provides a redundant system that ensures accurate identification of the enterotoxin and the use of labeled microspheres permits simultaneous testing of multiple enterotoxins from a single sample.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2007 that Staphylococcus aureus is the most significant cause of serious infectious diseases in the United States (R. M. Klevens, M. A. Morrison, J. Nadle, S. Petit, K. Gershman, et al., JAMA 298:1763–1771, 2007). Among these infections are sepsis, infective endocarditis, and acute kidney injury. Infective endocarditis occurs in 30 to 60% of patients with S. aureus bacteremia and carries a mortality rate of 40 to 50%. Over the past decades, infective endocarditis outcomes have not improved, and infection rates are steadily increasing (D. H. Bor, S. Woolhandler, R. Nardin, J. Brusch, D. U. Himmelstein, PLoS One 8:e60033, 2013). There is little understanding of the S. aureus virulence factors that are key for infective endocarditis development and kidney abscess formation. We demonstrate that superantigens are critical in the causation of all three infections. We show that their association results from both superantigenicity and direct toxic effects on endothelial cells, the latter likely contributing to delayed endothelium healing. Our studies contribute significantly to understanding the development of these illnesses and are expected to lead to development of important therapies to treat such illnesses.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SUMMARY This review begins with a discussion of the large family of Staphylococcus aureus and beta-hemolytic streptococcal pyrogenic toxin T lymphocyte superantigens from structural and immunobiological perspectives. With this as background, the review then discusses the major known and possible human disease associations with superantigens, including associations with toxic shock syndromes, atopic dermatitis, pneumonia, infective endocarditis, and autoimmune sequelae to streptococcal illnesses. Finally, the review addresses current and possible novel strategies to prevent superantigen production and passive and active immunization strategies.
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