Nox2 modification of LDL is essential for optimal apolipoprotein B-mediated control of agr type III Staphylococcus aureus quorum-sensing.
ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus contains an autoinducing quorum-sensing system encoded within the agr operon that coordinates expression of virulence genes required for invasive infection. Allelic variation within agr has generated four agr specific groups, agr I-IV, each of which secretes a distinct autoinducing peptide pheromone (AIP1-4) that drives agr signaling. Because agr signaling mediates a phenotypic change in this pathogen from an adherent colonizing phenotype to one associated with considerable tissue injury and invasiveness, we postulated that a significant contribution to host defense against tissue damaging and invasive infections could be provided by innate immune mechanisms that antagonize agr signaling. We determined whether two host defense factors that inhibit AIP1-induced agrI signaling, Nox2 and apolipoprotein B (apoB), also contribute to innate control of AIP3-induced agrIII signaling. We hypothesized that apoB and Nox2 would function differently against AIP3, which differs from AIP1 in amino acid sequence and length. Here we show that unlike AIP1, AIP3 is resistant to direct oxidant inactivation by Nox2 characteristic ROS. Rather, the contribution of Nox2 to defense against agrIII signaling is through oxidation of LDL. ApoB in the context of oxLDL, and not LDL, provides optimal host defense against S. aureus agrIII infection by binding the secreted signaling peptide, AIP3, and preventing expression of the agr-driven virulence factors which mediate invasive infection. ApoB within the context of oxLDL also binds AIP 1-4 and oxLDL antagonizes agr signaling by all four agr alleles. Our results suggest that Nox2-mediated oxidation of LDL facilitates a conformational change in apoB to one sufficient for binding and sequestration of all four AIPs, demonstrating the interdependence of apoB and Nox2 in host defense against agr signaling. These data reveal a novel role for oxLDL in host defense against S. aureus quorum-sensing signaling.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) and mounting antibiotic resistance requires innovative treatment strategies. S. aureus uses secreted cyclic autoinducing peptides (AIPs) and the accessory gene regulator (agr) operon to coordinate expression of virulence factors required for invasive infection. Of the four agr alleles (agr types I-IV and corresponding AIPs1-4), agr type I isolates are most frequently associated with invasive infection. Cyclization via a thiolactone bond is essential for AIP function; therefore, recognition of the cyclic form of AIP1 may be necessary for antibody-mediated neutralization. However, the small sizes of AIPs and labile thiolactone bond have hindered vaccine development. To overcome this, we used a virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine platform (PP7) for conformationally-restricted presentation of a modified AIP1 amino acid sequence (AIP1S). Vaccination with PP7-AIP1S elicited AIP1-specific antibodies and limited agr-activation in vivo. Importantly, in a murine SSTI challenge model with a highly virulent agr type I S. aureus isolate, PP7-AIP1S vaccination reduced pathogenesis and increased bacterial clearance compared to controls, demonstrating vaccine efficacy. Given the contribution of MRSA agr type I isolates to human disease, vaccine targeting of AIP1-regulated virulence could have a major clinical impact in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is both a colonizer of humans and a cause of severe invasive infections. Although the genetic basis for phenotype switching from colonizing to invasive has received significant study, knowledge of host factors that antagonize the switch is limited. We show that VLDL and LDL lipoproteins interfere with this switch by antagonizing the S. aureus agr quorum-sensing system that upregulates genes required for invasive infection. The mechanism of antagonism entails binding of the major structural protein of these lipoproteins, apolipoprotein B, to an S. aureus autoinducing pheromone, preventing attachment of this pheromone to the bacteria and subsequent signaling through its receptor, AgrC. Mice deficient in plasma apolipoprotein B, either genetically or pharmacologically, are more susceptible to invasive agr+ bacterial infection, but not to infection with an agr deletion mutant. Therefore, apolipoprotein B at homeostatic levels in blood is an essential innate defense effector against invasive S. aureus infection.
Project description:Serum lipoproteins (LP) are increasingly being recognized as dual purpose molecules that contribute to both cholesterol homeostasis and host innate defense. In fact, very low LP levels are associated with increased risk of bacterial infection in critically ill patients. In this respect, we reported that apolipoprotein B100 (apoB100), the 4536 amino acid structural protein of very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) produced by the liver, limits Staphylococcus aureus pathogenesis. S. aureus uses quorum-sensing (QS) via the accessory gene regulator (agr) operon and an autoinducing peptide (AIP) to coordinate expression of over 200 virulence genes. ApoB100 prevents agr activation by binding and sequestering secreted AIP. Importantly, human serum LP are produced not only by the liver, but are also produced by enterocytes, in the form of chylomicrons, during uptake of dietary lipids. In contrast to apoB100 in VLDL, human enterocytes use apoB48, the N-terminal 2152 amino acids (48%) of apoB100, as the structural component of chylomicrons. Interestingly, enteral feeding of critically ill patients has been associated with decreased risk of infectious complications, suggesting chylomicrons could contribute to host innate defense in critically ill patients when serum LP production by the liver is limited during the acute phase response. Therefore, we hypothesized that apoB48 would be sufficient to antagonize S. aureus QS. As expected, isolated apoB48-LP bound immobilized AIP and antagonized agr-signaling. ApoB48- and apoB100-LP inhibited agr activation with IC50s of 3.5 and 2.3 nM, respectively, demonstrating a conserved AIP binding site. Importantly, apoB48-LP antagonized QS, limited morbidity and promoted bacterial clearance in a mouse model of S. aureus infection. This work demonstrates that both naturally occurring forms of apolipoprotein B can antagonize S. aureus QS, and may suggest a previously unrecognized role for chylomicrons and enterocytes in host innate defense against S. aureus QS-mediated pathogenesis.
Project description:Bacterial signaling systems are prime drug targets for combating the global health threat of antibiotic resistant bacterial infections including those caused by Staphylococcus aureus. S. aureus is the primary cause of acute bacterial skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) and the quorum sensing operon agr is causally associated with these. Whether efficacious chemical inhibitors of agr signaling can be developed that promote host defense against SSTIs while sparing the normal microbiota of the skin is unknown. In a high throughput screen, we identified a small molecule inhibitor (SMI), savirin (S. aureus virulence inhibitor) that disrupted agr-mediated quorum sensing in this pathogen but not in the important skin commensal Staphylococcus epidermidis. Mechanistic studies employing electrophoretic mobility shift assays and a novel AgrA activation reporter strain revealed the transcriptional regulator AgrA as the target of inhibition within the pathogen, preventing virulence gene upregulation. Consistent with its minimal impact on exponential phase growth, including skin microbiota members, savirin did not provoke stress responses or membrane dysfunction induced by conventional antibiotics as determined by transcriptional profiling and membrane potential and integrity studies. Importantly, savirin was efficacious in two murine skin infection models, abating tissue injury and selectively promoting clearance of agr+ but not ?agr bacteria when administered at the time of infection or delayed until maximal abscess development. The mechanism of enhanced host defense involved in part enhanced intracellular killing of agr+ but not ?agr in macrophages and by low pH. Notably, resistance or tolerance to savirin inhibition of agr was not observed after multiple passages either in vivo or in vitro where under the same conditions resistance to growth inhibition was induced after passage with conventional antibiotics. Therefore, chemical inhibitors can selectively target AgrA in S. aureus to promote host defense while sparing agr signaling in S. epidermidis and limiting resistance development.
Project description:Hyperlipidemia has been extensively studied in the context of atherosclerosis, whereas the potential health consequences of the opposite extreme, hypolipidemia, remain largely uninvestigated. Circulating lipoproteins are essential carriers of insoluble lipid molecules and are increasingly recognized as innate immune effectors. Importantly, severe hypolipidemia, which may occur with trauma or critical illness, is clinically associated with bacterial pneumonia. To test the hypothesis that circulating lipoproteins are essential for optimal host innate defense in the lung, we used lipoprotein-deficient mice and a mouse model of Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia in which invasive infection requires virulence factor expression controlled by the accessory gene regulator (agr) operon. Activation of agr and subsequent virulence factor expression is inhibited by apolipoprotein B, the structural protein of low-density lipoprotein, which binds and sequesters the secreted agr-signaling peptide (AIP). In this article, we report that lipoprotein deficiency impairs early pulmonary innate defense against S. aureus quorum-sensing-dependent pathogenesis. Specifically, apolipoprotein B levels in the lung early postinfection are significantly reduced with lipoprotein deficiency, coinciding with impaired host control of S. aureus agr-signaling and increased agr-dependent morbidity (weight loss) and inflammation. Given that lipoproteins also inhibit LTA- and LPS-mediated inflammation, these results suggest that hypolipidemia may broadly impact posttrauma pneumonia susceptibility to both Gram-positive and -negative pathogens. Together with previous reports demonstrating that hyperlipidemia also impairs lung innate defense, these results suggest that maintenance of normal serum lipoprotein levels is necessary for optimal host innate defense in the lung.
Project description:Objective: AIP1 expression is downregulated in human atherosclerotic plaques and global deletion of AIP1 in mice exacerbates atherosclerosis in ApoE-KO mouse models. However, the direct role of AIP1 in endothelium, vascular remodeling and associated vascular diseases has not been determined. Approach and Results: We used endothelial cell (EC)-specific AIP1-deficient (AIP1-ECKO) mice to define the role of AIP1 in vascular remodeling and intima-media thickening in a mouse carotid artery ligation model characterized by both neointimal hyperplasia and inward vessel remodeling. Compared to WT littermates, AIP1-ECKO mice had 2.2-fold larger intima area and 4.4-fold thicker intima as measured by intima/media ratio in arteries with more proliferating vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) at week 2-4 post-injury. Increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) in endothelium at early time points induced inflammation and vessel dysfunction in AIP1-ECKO prior to VSMC accumulations. Moreover, knockdown of AIP1 in human EC enhanced ROS generation which was attenuated by co-silencing of NOX2. Mechanistically, AIP1 via its proline-rich region binds to the SH3 domain of cytosolic subunit p47phox to disrupt formation of an active NOX2 complex, attenuating ROS production. Conclusion: Our study supports that AIP1 regulates vascular remodeling with intima-media thickening by suppressing endothelial NOX2-dependent oxidative stress. Highlights: •In a carotid ligation model, endothelial cell (EC)-specific AIP1-deficient (AIP1-ECKO) mice had much larger media area, thicker vessel wall and augmented neointima formation.•Increased production of reactive oxygen species in vascular EC at early time points concomitant with vessel dysfunction in AIP1-ECKO.•AIP1 via its proline-rich region binds to the SH3 domain of cytosolic subunit p47phox to disrupt formation of an active NOX2 complex, attenuating ROS production.
Project description:The virulence and fitness in vivo of the major human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus are associated with a cell-to-cell signaling mechanism known as quorum sensing (QS). QS coordinates the production of virulence factors via the production and sensing of autoinducing peptide (AIP) signal molecules by the agr locus. Here we show, in a wax moth larva virulence model, that (i) QS in S. aureus is a cooperative social trait that provides a benefit to the local population of cells, (ii) agr mutants, which do not produce or respond to QS signal, are able to exploit the benefits provided by the QS of others ("cheat"), allowing them to increase in frequency when in mixed populations with cooperators, (iii) these social interactions between cells determine virulence, with the host mortality rate being negatively correlated to the percentage of agr mutants ("cheats") in a population, and (iv) a higher within-host relatedness (lower strain diversity) selects for QS and hence higher virulence. Our results provide an explanation for why agr mutants show reduced virulence in animal models but can be isolated from infections of humans. More generally, by providing the first evidence that QS is a cooperative social behavior in a Gram-positive bacterium, our results suggest convergent, and potentially widespread, evolution for signaling to coordinate cooperation in bacteria.
Project description:The innate immune response is essential to the host defense against viruses, through restriction of virus replication and coordination of the adaptive immune response. Induction of antiviral genes is a tightly regulated process initiated mainly through sensing of invading virus nucleic acids in the cytoplasm by RIG-I like helicases, RIG-I or Mda5, which transmit the signal through a common mitochondria-associated adaptor, MAVS. Although major breakthroughs have recently been made, much remains unknown about the mechanisms that translate virus recognition into antiviral genes expression. Beside the reputed detrimental role, reactive oxygen species (ROS) act as modulators of cellular signaling and gene regulation. NADPH oxidase (NOX) enzymes are a main source of deliberate cellular ROS production. Here, we found that NOX2 and ROS are required for the host cell to trigger an efficient RIG-I-mediated IRF-3 activation and downstream antiviral IFNbeta and IFIT1 gene expression. Additionally, we provide evidence that NOX2 is critical for the expression of the central mitochondria-associated adaptor MAVS. Taken together these data reveal a new facet to the regulation of the innate host defense against viruses through the identification of an unrecognized role of NOX2 and ROS.
Project description:Recent studies highlight the abundance of commensal coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) on healthy skin. Evidence suggests that CoNS actively shape the skin immunological and microbial milieu to resist colonization or infection by opportunistic pathogens, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), in a variety of mechanisms collectively termed colonization resistance. One potential colonization resistance mechanism is the application of quorum sensing, also called the accessory gene regulator (agr) system, which is ubiquitous among staphylococci. Common and rare CoNS make autoinducing peptides (AIPs) that function as MRSA agr inhibitors, protecting the host from invasive infection. In a screen of CoNS spent media, we found that Staphylococcus simulans, a rare human skin colonizer and frequent livestock colonizer, released potent inhibitors of all classes of MRSA agr signaling. We identified three S. simulans agr classes and have shown intraspecies cross talk between noncognate S. simulans agr types for the first time. The S. simulans AIP-I structure was confirmed, and the novel AIP-II and AIP-III structures were solved via mass spectrometry. Synthetic S. simulans AIPs inhibited MRSA agr signaling with nanomolar potency. S. simulans in competition with MRSA reduced dermonecrotic and epicutaneous skin injury in murine models. The addition of synthetic AIP-I also effectively reduced MRSA dermonecrosis and epicutaneous skin injury in murine models. These results demonstrate potent anti-MRSA quorum sensing inhibition by a rare human skin commensal and suggest that cross talk between CoNS and MRSA may be important in maintaining healthy skin homeostasis and preventing MRSA skin damage during colonization or acute infection.
Project description:Quorum sensing triggers virulence factor expression in medically important bacterial pathogens in response to a density-dependent increase in one or more autoinducing pheromones. Here, we show that phagocyte-derived oxidants target these autoinducers for inactivation as an innate defense mechanism of the host. In a skin infection model, expression of phagocyte NADPH oxidase, myeloperoxidase, or inducible nitric oxide synthase was critical for defense against a quorum-sensing pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, but not for defense against a quorum sensing-deficient mutant. A virulence-inducing peptide of S. aureus was inactivated in vitro and in vivo by reactive oxygen and nitrogen intermediates, including HOCl and ONOO(-). Inactivation of the autoinducer prevented both the up-regulation of virulence gene expression and the downstream sequelae. MS analysis of the inactivated peptide demonstrated that oxidation of the C-terminal methionine was primarily responsible for loss of activity. Treatment of WT but not NADPH oxidase-deficient mice with N-acetyl methionine to scavenge the inhibitory oxidants increased in vivo quorum sensing independently of the bacterial burden at the site of infection. Thus, oxidant-mediated inactivation of an autoinducing peptide from S. aureus is a critical innate defense mechanism against infection with this pathogen.