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The Agr quorum-sensing system regulates fibronectin binding but not hemolysis in the absence of a functional electron transport chain.

ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus is responsible for numerous chronic and recurrent infections, which are frequently associated with the emergence of small-colony variants (SCVs) that lack a functional electron transport chain. SCVs exhibit enhanced expression of fibronectin-binding protein (FnBP) and greatly reduced hemolysin production, although the basis for this is unclear. One hypothesis is that these phenotypes are a consequence of the reduced Agr activity of SCVs, while an alternative is that the lack of a functional electron transport chain and the resulting reduction in ATP production are responsible. Disruption of the electron transport chain of S. aureus genetically (hemB and menD) or chemically, using 2-n-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline N-oxide (HQNO), inhibited both growth and Agr activity and conferred an SCV phenotype. Supplementation of the culture medium with synthetic autoinducing peptide (sAIP) significantly increased Agr expression in both hemB mutant strains and S. aureus grown with HQNO and significantly reduced staphylococcal adhesion to fibronectin. However, sAIP did not promote hemolysin expression in hemB mutant strains or S. aureus grown with HQNO. Therefore, while Agr regulates fibronectin binding in SCVs, it cannot promote hemolysin production in the absence of a functional electron transport chain.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4187888 | BioStudies | 2014-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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