Comparative analysis of USA300 virulence determinants in a rabbit model of skin and soft tissue infection.
ABSTRACT 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.
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ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus is an important cause of human skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) globally. Notably, 80% of all SSTIs are caused by S. aureus, of which ∼63% are abscesses and/or cellulitis. Although progress has been made, our knowledge of the host and pathogen factors that contribute to the pathogenesis of SSTIs is incomplete. To provide a more comprehensive view of this process, we monitored changes in the S. aureus transcriptome and selected host proinflammatory molecules during abscess formation and resolution in a rabbit skin infection model. Within the first 24 h, S. aureus transcripts involved in DNA repair, metabolite transport, and metabolism were up-regulated, suggesting an increase in the machinery encoding molecules involved in replication and cell division. There was also increased expression of genes encoding virulence factors, namely secreted toxins and fibronectin and/or fibrinogen-binding proteins. Of the host genes tested, we found that transcripts encoding IL-8, IL1β, oncostatin M-like, CCR1, CXCR1 (IL8RA), CCL4 (MIP-1β) and CCL3 (MIP1α)-like proteins were among the most highly up-regulated transcripts during S. aureus abscess formation. Our findings provide additional insight into the pathogenesis of S. aureus SSTIs, including a temporal component of the host response. These results serve as a springboard for future studies directed to better understand how/why mild or moderate SSTIs progress to invasive disease.PLoS ONE 02/2015; 10(2):e0117713. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0117713 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Antibiotic resistant pathogens are a global health threat. Small molecules that inhibit bacterial virulence have been suggested as alternatives or adjuncts to conventional antibiotics, as they may limit pathogenesis and increase bacterial susceptibility to host killing. Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of invasive skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI) in both the hospital and community, and is also becoming increasingly antibiotic resistant. Quorum sensing (QS) mediated by the accessory gene regulator (agr) controls virulence factor production essential for causing SSTI. We recently identified ω-hydroxyemodin (OHM), a polyhydroxyanthraquinone isolated from solid-phase cultures of Penicillium restrictum, as a suppressor of QS and sought to further characterize the mechanism of action. At concentrations non-toxic to eukaryotic cells and sub-inhibitory to bacterial growth, OHM prevented agr signaling by all four S. aureus agr alleles. OHM inhibited QS by direct binding to AgrA, the response regulator encoded by the agr operon, preventing AgrA interaction with the agr P2 promoter. Importantly, OHM was efficacious in a mouse model of S. aureus SSTI. Decreased dermonecrosis with OHM treatment was associated with enhanced bacterial clearance and reductions in inflammatory cytokine transcription and expression at the site of infection. Furthermore, OHM-treatment enhanced immune cell killing of S. aureus in vitro in an agr-dependent manner. These data suggest that bacterial disarmament through suppression of S. aureus QS may bolster the host innate immune response and limit inflammation. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 02/2015; 59(4). DOI:10.1128/AAC.04564-14 · 4.45 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Several members of the staphylococcal phenol-soluble modulin (PSM) peptide family exhibit pronounced capacities to lyse eukaryotic cells, such as neutrophils, monocytes, and erythrocytes. This is commonly assumed to be due to the amphipathic, α-helical structure of PSMs, giving PSMs detergent-like characteristics and allowing for a relatively non-specific destruction of biological membranes. However, the capacities of PSMs to lyse synthetic phospholipid vesicles have not been investigated. Here, we analyzed lysis of synthetic phosphatidylcholine (1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, POPC) vesicles by all Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis PSMs. In addition, we investigated the lytic capacities of culture filtrates obtained from different S. aureus PSM deletion mutants toward POPC vesicles. Our results show that all staphylococcal PSMs have phospholipid vesicle-lysing activity and the capacity of S. aureus culture filtrate to lyse POPC vesicles is exclusively dependent on PSMs. Notably, we observed largely differing capacities among PSM peptides to lyse POPC vesicles. Interestingly, POPC vesicle-lytic capacities did not correlate with those previously seen for the lysis of eukaryotic cells. For example, the β-type PSMs were strongly lytic for POPC vesicles, but are known to exhibit only very low lytic capacities toward neutrophils and erythrocytes. Thus our results also suggest that the interaction between PSMs and eukaryotic membranes is more specific than previously assumed, potentially depending on additional structural features of those membranes, such as phospholipid composition or yet unidentified docking molecules.07/2012; 1(1):3-11. DOI:10.3390/pathogens1010003