Agr-Dependent interactions of Staphylococcus aureus USA300 with human polymorphonuclear neutrophils.
ABSTRACT: The emergence of serious infections due to community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has fueled interest in the contributions of specific staphylococcal virulence factors to clinical disease. To assess the contributions of agr-dependent factors to the fate of organisms in polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN), we examined the consequences for organism and host cells of feeding PMN with wild-type CA-MRSA (LAC) or CA-MRSA (LAC agr KO) at different multiplicities of infection (MOIs). Phagocytosed organisms rapidly increased the transcription of RNAIII in a time- and MOI-dependent fashion; extracellular USA300 (LAC) did not increase RNAIII expression despite having the capacity to respond to autoinducing peptide-enriched culture medium. HOCl-mediated damage and intracellular survival were the same in the wild-type and USA300 (LAC agr KO). PMN lysis by ingested USA300 (LAC) was time- and MOI-dependent and, at MOIs >1, required ?-hemolysin (hla) as USA300 (LAC agr KO) and USA300 (LAC hla KO) promoted PMN lysis only at high MOIs. Taken together, these data demonstrate activation of the agr operon in human PMN with the subsequent production of ?-hemolysin and PMN lysis. The extent to which these events in the phagosomes of human PMN contribute to the increased morbidity and mortality of infections with USA300 (LAC) merits further study.
Project description:Mechanisms underlying the enhanced virulence phenotype of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) are incompletely defined, but presumably include evasion of killing by human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs or neutrophils). To better understand this phenomenon, we investigated the basis of rapid PMN lysis after phagocytosis of USA300, a prominent CA-MRSA strain. Survival of USA300 clinical isolates after phagocytosis ultimately resulted in neutrophil lysis. PMNs containing ingested USA300 underwent morphological changes consistent with apoptosis, but lysed rapidly thereafter (within 6 h), whereas cells undergoing FAS-mediated apoptosis or phagocytosis-induced cell death remained intact. Phagosome membranes remained intact until the point of PMN destruction, suggesting lysis was not caused by escape of S. aureus from phagosomes or the cytolytic action of pore-forming toxins. Microarray analysis of the PMN transcriptome after phagocytosis of representative community-associated S. aureus and healthcare-associated MRSA strains revealed changes unique to community-associated S. aureus strains, such as upregulation of transcripts involved in regulation of calcium homeostasis. Collectively, the data suggest that neutrophil destruction after phagocytosis of USA300 is in part a form of programmed necrosis rather than direct lysis by S. aureus pore-forming toxins. We propose that the ability of CA-MRSA strains to induce programmed necrosis of neutrophils is a component of enhanced virulence.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a prominent human pathogen and leading cause of bacterial infection in hospitals and the community. Community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) strains such as USA300 are highly virulent and, unlike hospital strains, often cause disease in otherwise healthy individuals. The enhanced virulence of CA-MRSA is based in part on increased ability to produce high levels of secreted molecules that facilitate evasion of the innate immune response. Although progress has been made, the factors that contribute to CA-MRSA virulence are incompletely defined. We analyzed the cell surface proteome (surfome) of USA300 strain LAC to better understand extracellular factors that contribute to the enhanced virulence phenotype. A total of 113 identified proteins were associated with the surface of USA300 during the late-exponential phase of growth in vitro. Protein A was the most abundant surface molecule of USA300, as indicated by combined Mascot score following analysis of peptides by tandem mass spectrometry. Unexpectedly, we identified a previously uncharacterized two-component leukotoxin-herein named LukS-H and LukF-G (LukGH)-as two of the most abundant surface-associated proteins of USA300. Rabbit antibody specific for LukG indicated it was also freely secreted by USA300 into culture media. We used wild-type and isogenic lukGH deletion strains of USA300 in combination with human PMN pore formation and lysis assays to identify this molecule as a leukotoxin. Moreover, LukGH synergized with PVL to enhance lysis of human PMNs in vitro, and contributed to lysis of PMNs after phagocytosis. We conclude LukGH is a novel two-component leukotoxin with cytolytic activity toward neutrophils, and thus potentially contributes to S. aureus virulence.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a serious human pathogen and antibiotic resistant, community-associated strains, such as the methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strain USA300, continue to spread. To avoid resistance, anti-virulence therapy has been proposed where toxicity is targeted rather than viability. Previously we have shown that norlichexanthone, a small non-reduced tricyclic polyketide produced by fungi and lichens, reduces expression of hla encoding ?-hemolysin as well as the regulatory RNAIII of the agr quorum sensing system in S. aureus 8325-4. The aim of the present study was to further characterise the mode of action of norlichexanthone and its effect on biofilm formation. We find that norlichexanthone reduces expression of both hla and RNAIII also in strain USA300. Structurally, norlichexanthone resembles ?-hydroxyemodin that recently was shown to bind the agr two component response regulator, AgrA, which controls expression of RNAIII and the phenol soluble modulins responsible for human neutrophil killing. We show that norlichexanthone reduces S. aureus toxicity towards human neutrophils and interferes directly with AgrA binding to its DNA target. In contrast to ?-hydroxyemodin however, norlichexanthone reduces staphylococcal biofilm formation. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that genes regulated by the SaeRS two-component system are repressed by norlichexanthone when compared to untreated cells, an effect that was mitigated in strain Newman carrying a partially constitutive SaeRS system. Our data show that norlichexanthone treatment reduces expression of key virulence factors in CA-MRSA strain USA300 via AgrA binding and represses biofilm formation.
Project description:During a global research expedition, more than five hundred marine bacterial strains capable of inhibiting the growth of pathogenic bacteria were collected. The purpose of the present study was to determine if these marine bacteria are also a source of compounds that interfere with the agr quorum sensing system that controls virulence gene expression in Staphylococcus aureus. Using a gene reporter fusion bioassay, we recorded agr interference as enhanced expression of spa, encoding Protein A, concomitantly with reduced expression of hla, encoding ?-hemolysin, and rnaIII encoding RNAIII, the effector molecule of agr. A marine Photobacterium produced compounds interfering with agr in S. aureus strain 8325-4, and bioassay-guided fractionation of crude extracts led to the isolation of two novel cyclodepsipeptides, designated solonamide A and B. Northern blot analysis confirmed the agr interfering activity of pure solonamides in both S. aureus strain 8325-4 and the highly virulent, community-acquired strain USA300 (CA-MRSA). To our knowledge, this is the first report of inhibitors of the agr system by a marine bacterium.
Project description:Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) pose a significant threat to human health. Polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) are the first responders during staphylococcal infection, but 15-50% of the initial ingested inoculum survives within the PMN phagosome and likely contributes directly or indirectly to disease pathogenesis. We hypothesize that surviving intracellular CA-MRSA undermine effective phagocyte-mediated defense by causing a decrease in macrophage uptake of PMN containing viable S. aureus and by promoting PMN lysis. In support of this hypothesis, PMN harboring viable CA-MRSA strain USA300 (PMN-SA) upregulated the "don't eat me" signal CD47, remained bound to the surface, and were inefficiently ingested by macrophages. In addition, coculture with PMN-SA altered the macrophage phenotype. Compared to macrophages fed USA300 alone, macrophages challenged with PMN-SA produced more IL-8 and less IL-1 receptor antagonist, TNF-?, activated caspase-1, and IL-1?. Although they exhibited some features of apoptosis within 3 h following ingestion of S. aureus, including phosphatidylserine exposure and mitochondrial membrane depolarization, PMN-SA had sustained levels of proliferating cell nuclear Ag expression, absence of caspase activation, and underwent lysis within 6 h following phagocytosis. PMN lysis was dependent on receptor-interacting protein 1, suggesting that PMN-SA underwent programmed necrosis or necroptosis. These data are the first demonstration, to our knowledge, that bacteria can promote sustained expression of proliferating cell nuclear Ag and that human PMN undergo necroptosis. Together, these findings demonstrate that S. aureus surviving within PMN undermine the innate immune response and may provide insight into the pathogenesis of S. aureus disease.
Project description:Persistent MRSA infections are especially relevant to endovascular infections and correlate with suboptimal outcomes. However, the virulence signatures of Staphylococcus aureus that drive such persistence outcomes are not well defined. In the current study, we investigated correlations between accessory gene regulator (agr) activation and the outcome of vancomycin treatment in an experimental model of infective endocarditis (IE) due to MRSA strains with different agr and clonal complex (CC) types.Twelve isolates with the four most common MRSA CC and agr types (CC5-agr II, CC8-agr I, CC30-agr III and CC45-agr I) were evaluated for heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (hVISA), agr function, agrA and RNAIII transcription, agr locus sequences, virulence and response to vancomycin in the IE model.Early agr RNAIII activation (beginning at 2 h of growth) in parallel with strong ?-haemolysin production correlated with persistent outcomes in the IE model following vancomycin therapy. Importantly, such treatment failures occurred across the range of CC/agr types studied. In addition, these MRSA strains: (i) were vancomycin susceptible in vitro; (ii) were not hVISA or vancomycin tolerant; and (iii) did not evolve hVISA phenotypes or perturbed ?-haemolysin activity in vivo following vancomycin therapy. Moreover, agr locus sequence analyses revealed no common point mutations that correlated with either temporal RNAIII transcription or vancomycin treatment outcomes, encompassing different CC and agr types.These data suggest that temporal agr RNAIII activation and agr functional profiles may be useful biomarkers to predict the in vivo persistence of endovascular MRSA infections despite vancomycin therapy.
Project description:Community-associated (CA) infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are on a global rise. However, analysis of virulence characteristics has been limited almost exclusively to the US endemic strain USA300. CA-MRSA strains that do not produce Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) have not been investigated on a molecular level. Therefore, we analyzed virulence determinants in a PVL-negative CA-MRSA strain, ST72, from Korea. Genome-wide analysis identified 3 loci that are unique to that strain, but did not affect virulence. In contrast, phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs) and the global virulence regulator Agr strongly affected lysis of neutrophils and erythrocytes, while ?-toxin and Agr had a major impact on in vivo virulence. Our findings substantiate the general key roles these factors play in CA-MRSA virulence. However, our analyses also showed noticeable differences to strain USA300, inasmuch as ?-toxin emerged as a much more important factor than PSMs in experimental skin infection caused by ST72.
Project description:The Staphylococcus aureus accessory gene regulator (agr) is a prototype quorum-sensing system in Gram-positive bacteria and a paradigmatic example of gene regulation by a small regulatory RNA, RNAIII. Using genome-wide transcriptional profiling in the community-associated methicillin-resistant (CA-MRSA) strain MW2, we demonstrate here that in contrast to the current model of target gene regulation by agr, a large subset of agr-regulated genes is controlled independently of RNAIII. This group comprised predominantly metabolism genes, whereas virulence factors were mostly controlled by RNAIII. Remarkably, the phenol-soluble modulin (PSM) leukocidin genes were the only virulence determinants under RNAIII-independent control, emphasizing their exceptional role in S. aureus physiology and pathogenesis. Of note, PSM promoters bound the AgrA response regulator protein, previously believed to interact exclusively with agr promoters, explaining the exceptionally strict control of PSMs by agr. Our results suggest that virulence factor control is a secondary acquisition of the agr regulon, which evolved by development of RNAIII around the mRNA of the PSM d-toxin, exemplifying how gene control via a small regulatory RNA may be linked to a pre-established regulatory circuit. In addition to elucidating agr control in CA-MRSA, which revealed features potentially crucial for CA-MRSA pathogenesis, our study establishes a novel two-level model of cell-density dependent gene regulation in S. aureus and gives important insight into the connection of metabolism and virulence control in this leading opportunistic pathogen. Keywords: Wild type control vs mutant Wild type in triplicate is compared to mutant in triplicate totalling 27 samples
Project description:We studied the characteristics of methicillin (meticillin)-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains that caused enteritis. In a previous report, we demonstrated that both phenotypic and genotypic changes were associated with MRSA enteritis; and we hypothesized that the accessory gene regulator (agr), which is a global regulator of staphylococcal virulence and upregulates several exoproteins, is the key factor associated with the development of MRSA enteritis. In this study, we examined 12 MRSA isolates associated with enteritis from stool samples and 17 MRSA isolates not associated with enteritis that had the following characteristics: the strains associated with enteritis had the same genotype (genotype A), as detected by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, or the strains were isolated from stools. The differences between strains that caused enteritis and those that did not cause enteritis strains were examined by quantitative reverse transcription-PCR to assess RNAII, agrA, RNAIII, and tst expression and by sequencing of the agr locus. The levels of expression of agrA, RNAIII, and tst were higher by the MRSA isolates associated with enteritis than by the MRSA isolates not associated with enteritis, whether or not they were of the same genotype. The levels of expression of RNAII by almost all the clinical isolates were similar. Sequencing of the agr locus showed that all MRSA isolates that caused enteritis have agr mutations, whereas the MRSA isolates that did not cause enteritis, with three exceptions, did not. Many of the isolates associated with enteritis had the same mutation, especially at the C-terminal end of agrA. These results suggest a trend in which mutations in the agr locus modify the expression of agrA and RNAIII and the production of toxin, all of which may increase the virulence and influence the occurrence of MRSA enteritis.
Project description:Given its high resistance, enhanced virulence, and high transmissibility, community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) pneumonia is highly associated with high morbidity and mortality. Anti-virulence therapy is a promising strategy that bypasses the evolutionary pressure on the bacterium to develop resistance. RNAIII-inhibiting peptide (RIP), as an accessory gene regulator (agr)-specific inhibitor, significantly restricts the virulence of S. aureus and protects infected mice from death by blocking the agr quorum sensing system. The protective effects of RIP on the neutropenic mice completely disappeared in a neutrophil-deleted mouse infection model, but not in the macrophage-deleted mice. This result confirmed that the in vivo antibacterial activity of RIP is highly associated with neutrophil function. Phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs), as major leukocyte lysis toxins of CA-MRSA, are directly regulated by the agr system. In this experiment, PSM?1, 2, and 3 significantly induced neutrophil necroptosis by activating mixed lineage kinase-like protein (MLKL) phosphorylation and increasing lactate dehydrogenase release. The S. aureus supernatants harvested from the agr or psm? mutant strains both decreased the phosphorylation level of MLKL and cell lysis. PSM?1-mediated neutrophil lysis was significantly inhibited by necrosulfonamide, necrostatin-1, TNF? antibody, and WRW4. These results showed PSM?1 induced necroptosis depends on formylpeptide receptor 2 (FPR2)-mediated autocrine TNF?. Moreover, the neutrophil necroptosis induced by S. aureus was significantly suppressed and pneumonia was effectively prevented by the blockage of agrA and psm? expression levels. These findings indicate that PSM?-induced necroptosis is a major cause of lung pathology in S. aureus pneumonia and suggest that interfering with the agr quorum sensing signaling pathway is a potential therapeutic strategy.