The effect of skin fatty acids on Staphylococcus aureus.
ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus is a commensal of the human nose and skin. Human skin fatty acids, in particular cis-6-hexadecenoic acid (C-6-H), have high antistaphylococcal activity and can inhibit virulence determinant production. Here, we show that sub-MIC levels of C-6-H result in induction of increased resistance. The mechanism(s) of C-6-H activity was investigated by combined transcriptome and proteome analyses. Proteome analysis demonstrated a pleiotropic effect of C-6-H on virulence determinant production. In response to C-6-H, transcriptomics revealed altered expression of over 500 genes, involved in many aspects of virulence and cellular physiology. The expression of toxins (hla, hlb, hlgBC) was reduced, whereas that of host defence evasion components (cap, sspAB, katA) was increased. In particular, members of the SaeRS regulon had highly reduced expression, and the use of specific mutants revealed that the effect on toxin production is likely mediated via SaeRS.
Project description:In previous studies, we identified the fatty acid kinase virulence factor regulator B (VfrB) as a potent regulator of ?-hemolysin and other virulence factors in Staphylococcus aureus In this study, we demonstrated that VfrB is a positive activator of the SaeRS two-component regulatory system. Analysis of vfrB, saeR, and saeS mutant strains revealed that VfrB functions in the same pathway as SaeRS. At the transcriptional level, the promoter activities of SaeRS class I (coa) and class II (hla) target genes were downregulated during the exponential growth phase in the vfrB mutant, compared to the wild-type strain. In addition, saePQRS expression was decreased in the vfrB mutant strain, demonstrating a need for this protein in the autoregulation of SaeRS. The requirement for VfrB-mediated activation was circumvented when SaeS was constitutively active due to an SaeS (L18P) substitution. Furthermore, activation of SaeS via human neutrophil peptide 1 (HNP-1) overcame the dependence on VfrB for transcription from class I Sae promoters. Consistent with the role of VfrB in fatty acid metabolism, hla expression was decreased in the vfrB mutant with the addition of exogenous myristic acid. Lastly, we determined that aspartic acid residues D38 and D40, which are predicted to be key to VfrB enzymatic activity, were required for VfrB-mediated ?-hemolysin production. Collectively, this study implicates VfrB as a novel accessory protein needed for the activation of SaeRS in S. aureusIMPORTANCE The SaeRS two-component system is a key regulator of virulence determinant production in Staphylococcus aureus Although the regulon of this two-component system is well characterized, the activation mechanisms, including the specific signaling molecules, remain elusive. Elucidating the complex regulatory circuit of SaeRS regulation is important for understanding how the system contributes to disease causation by this pathogen. To this end, we have identified the fatty acid kinase VfrB as a positive regulatory modulator of SaeRS-mediated transcription of virulence factors in S. aureus In addition to describing a new regulatory aspect of SaeRS, this study establishes a link between fatty acid kinase activity and virulence factor regulation.
Project description:We used a murine model of postsurgical osteomyelitis (OM) to evaluate the relative virulence of the Staphylococcus aureus strain LAC and five isogenic variants that differ in the functional status of saeRS and sarA relative to each other. LAC and a variant in which saeRS activity is increased (saeC) were comparably virulent to each other, while ?saeRS, ?sarA, ?saeRS/?sarA, and saeC/?sarA mutants were all attenuated to a comparable degree. Phenotypic comparisons including a mass-based proteomics approach that allowed us to assess the number and abundance of full-length proteins suggested that mutation of saeRS attenuates virulence in our OM model owing primarily to the decreased production of S. aureus virulence factors, while mutation of sarA does so owing to protease-mediated degradation of these same virulence factors. This was confirmed by demonstrating that eliminating protease production restored virulence to a greater extent in a LAC sarA mutant than in the isogenic saeRS mutant. Irrespective of the mechanism involved, mutation of saeRS or sarA was shown to result in reduced accumulation of virulence factors of potential importance. Thus, using our proteomics approach we correlated the abundance of specific proteins with virulence in these six strains and identified 14 proteins that were present in a significantly increased amount (log2 ? 5.0) in both virulent strains by comparison to all four attenuated strains. We examined biofilm formation and virulence in our OM model using a LAC mutant unable to produce one of these 14 proteins, specifically staphylocoagulase. The results confirmed that mutation of coa limits biofilm formation and, to a lesser extent, virulence in our OM model, although in both cases the limitation was reduced by comparison to the isogenic sarA mutant.
Project description:The SaeRS two-component system is a master activator of virulence factor transcription in Staphylococcus aureus, but the cellular factors that control its activity are unknown. Fatty acid (FA) kinase is a two-component enzyme system required for extracellular FA uptake and SaeRS activity. Here, we demonstrate the existence of an intracellular nonesterified FA pool in S. aureus that is elevated in strains lacking FA kinase activity. SaeRS-mediated transcription is restored in FA kinase-negative strains when the intracellular FA pool is reduced either by growth with FA-depleted bovine serum albumin to extract the FA into the medium or by the heterologous expression of Neisseria gonorrhoeae acyl-acyl carrier protein synthetase to activate FA for phospholipid synthesis. These data show that FAs act as negative regulators of SaeRS signaling, and FA kinase activates SaeRS-dependent virulence factor production by lowering inhibitory FA levels. Thus, FA kinase plays a role in cellular lipid homeostasis by activating FA for incorporation into phospholipid, and it indirectly regulates SaeRS signaling by maintaining a low intracellular FA pool.IMPORTANCE The SaeRS two-component system is a master transcriptional activator of virulence factor production in response to the host environment in S. aureus, and strains lacking FA kinase have severely attenuated SaeRS-dependent virulence factor transcription. FA kinase is required for the activation of exogenous FAs, and it plays a role in cellular lipid homeostasis by recycling cellular FAs into the phospholipid biosynthetic pathway. Activation of the sensor kinase, SaeS, is mediated by its membrane anchor domain, and the FAs which accumulate in FA kinase knockout strains are potent inhibitors of SaeS-dependent signaling. This work identifies FAs as physiological effectors for the SaeRS system and reveals a connection between cellular lipid homeostasis and the regulation of virulence factor transcription. FA kinase is widely distributed in Gram-positive bacteria, suggesting similar roles for FA kinase in these organisms.
Project description:Calprotectin, the most abundant cytoplasmic protein in neutrophils, suppresses the growth of Staphylococcus aureus by sequestering the nutrient metal ions Zn and Mn. Here we show that calprotectin can also enhance the activity of the SaeRS two component system (TCS), a signaling system essential for production of over 20 virulence factors in S. aureus. The activity of the SaeRS TCS is repressed by certain divalent ions found in blood or neutrophil granules; however, the Zn bound-form of calprotectin relieves this repression. During staphylococcal encounter with murine neutrophils or staphylococcal infection of the murine peritoneal cavity, calprotectin increases the activity of the SaeRS TCS as well as the production of proinflammatory cytokines such as IL-1? and TNF-?, resulting in higher murine mortality. These results suggest that, under certain conditions, calprotectin can be exploited by S. aureus to increase bacterial virulence and host mortality.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is an important pathogen in hospital and community infections. Fusidic acid is particularly effective in treating skin and wound infections caused by staphylococci. The purpose of our study was to clarify the effect of fusidic acid on the biofilm formation and ?-toxin expression of S. aureus at subinhibitory concentrations [1/64, 1/32, and 1/16 × minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC)]. A total of 504 genes greater than a twofold or less than twofold change in expression of S. aureus effected by subinhibitory concentrations of fusidic acid were found, including 232 up-regulated genes and 272 down-regulated genes, which were determined by transcriptome sequencing. Our results showed subinhibitory concentrations of fusidic acid significantly inhibited the expression of hla, spa, icaA, and cidA at the mRNA level in clinical S. aureus strains tested. And subinhibitory concentrations of fusidic acid can significantly reduce the hemolysis activity and ?-toxin production of S. aureus. In addition, the subinhibitory concentrations of fusidic acid significantly inhibited biofilm formation, autolysis, cell aggregation, and polysaccharide intercellular adhesin (PIA) production of S. aureus. Moreover, fusidic acid effectively reduces the damage of mouse skin lesion area. Furthermore, fusidic acid reduced the expression of the two-component regulatory system saeRS and staphylococcal accessory gene regulator (sarA). In conclusion, our results suggested that the subinhibitory concentrations of fusidic acid may reduce the virulence of S. aureus by down-regulating sarA and saeRS to reduce biofilm formation and ?-toxin expression, which will provide a theoretical basis for the clinical treatment of S. aureus infection. This is the first report that fusidic acid has an inhibitory effect on the virulence of S. aureus, and this broadens the clinical application of fusidic acid.
Project description:The two-component system SaeRS consisting of the histidin kinase SaeS and the response regulator SaeR is known to act on virulence gene expression in Staphylococcus aureus. In order to get a more comprehensive picture on SaeR-regulated genes, we studied the contribution of the two-component system on global gene expression by using both the proteomic and transcriptomic approach. Altogether, a loss of SaeRS resulted in a decreased amount of at least 17 extracellular proteins and two cell surface-associated proteins, among them several important virulence factors such as HlgA, HlgB, HlgC, LukF, and LukM. SaeRS activates the expression of these genes at the transcriptional level. The amount of the five proteins Aur, SspA, SsaA, Plc, and GlpQ was negatively influenced by SaeRS. However, the transcription of the corresponding genes was not affected by the two-component system. SaeRS had also no measurable influence on the transcription of the regulatory genes agr, sarA, arlRS, and sigB that contribute to the regulation of SaeRS-dependent virulence factors identified in this investigation. Our results clearly show that SaeRS is strongly involved in the tight temporal control of virulence factor expression in S. aureus. Its precise role within the regulatory network remains to be determined.
Project description:Recently, dipeptide aureusimines were reported to activate expression of staphylococcal virulence genes, such as alpha-hemolysin, and increase S. aureus virulence. Surprisingly, most of the virulence genes affected by aureusimines form part of the regulon of the SaeRS two component system (TCS), raising the possibility that SaeRS might be directly or indirectly involved in the aureusimine-dependent signaling process.Using HPLC analyses, we confirmed that a transposon mutant of ausA, the gene encoding the aureusimine dipeptide synthesis enzyme, does not produce dipeptides. However, the transposon mutant showed normal hemolysis activity and alpha-hemolysin/SaeP production. Furthermore, the P1 promoter of the sae operon, one of the targets of the SaeRS TCS, showed normal transcription activity. Moreover, in contrast to the original report, the ausA transposon mutant did not exhibit attenuated virulence in an animal infection model. DNA sequencing revealed that the ausA deletion mutant used in the original study has an 83 nt-duplication in saeS. Hemolysis activity of the original mutant was restored by a plasmid carrying the sae operon. A mutant of the sae operon showed elevated resistance to chloramphenicol and erythromycin, two antibiotics widely used during staphylococcal mutagenesis. At 43°C in the presence of erythromycin and aeration, the conditions typically employed for staphylococcal mutagenesis, an saeR transposon mutant grew much faster than a control mutant and the saeR mutant was highly enriched in a mixed culture experiment.Our results show that the previously reported roles of aureusimines in staphylococcal gene regulation and virulence were due to an unintended mutation in saeS, which was likely selected due to elevated resistance of the mutant to environmental stresses. Thus, there is no evidence indicating that the dipeptide aureusimines play a role in sae-mediated virulence factor production or contribute to staphylococcal virulence.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a commensal inhabitant of skin and mucous membranes in nose vestibule but also an important opportunistic pathogen of humans and livestock. The extracellular proteome as a whole constitutes its major virulence determinant; however, the involvement of particular proteins is still relatively poorly understood. In this study, we compared the extracellular proteomes of poultry-derived S. aureus strains exhibiting a virulent (VIR) and non-virulent (NVIR) phenotype in a chicken embryo experimental infection model with the aim to identify proteomic signatures associated with the particular phenotypes. Despite significant heterogeneity within the analyzed proteomes, we identified alpha-haemolysin and bifunctional autolysin as indicators of virulence, whereas glutamylendopeptidase production was characteristic for non-virulent strains. Staphopain C (StpC) was identified in both the VIR and NVIR proteomes and the latter fact contradicted previous findings suggesting its involvement in virulence. By supplementing NVIR, StpC-negative strains with StpC, and comparing the virulence of parental and supplemented strains, we demonstrated that staphopain C alone does not affect staphylococcal virulence in a chicken embryo model.
Project description:Several prominent bacterial pathogens secrete nuclease (Nuc) enzymes that have an important role in combating the host immune response. Early studies of Staphylococcus aureus Nuc attributed its regulation to the agr quorum-sensing system. However, recent microarray data have indicated that nuc is under the control of the SaeRS two-component system, which is a major regulator of S. aureus virulence determinants. Here we report that the nuc gene is directly controlled by the SaeRS two-component system through reporter fusion, immunoblotting, Nuc activity measurements, promoter mapping, and binding studies, and additionally, we were unable identify a notable regulatory link to the agr system. The observed SaeRS-dependent regulation was conserved across a wide spectrum of representative S. aureus isolates. Moreover, with community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA MRSA) in a mouse model of peritonitis, we observed in vivo expression of Nuc activity in an SaeRS-dependent manner and determined that Nuc is a virulence factor that is important for in vivo survival, confirming the enzyme's role as a contributor to invasive disease. Finally, natural polymorphisms were identified in the SaeRS proteins, one of which was linked to Nuc regulation in a CA MRSA USA300 endocarditis isolate. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that Nuc is an important S. aureus virulence factor and part of the SaeRS regulon.
Project description:VU0038882 ('882) is a small molecule compound with antistaphylococcal activity and increased activity toward the organism during anaerobic growth conditions. The mechanism of action of '882 is hypothesized to be saeRS dependent S. aureus Affymetrix GeneChips were used to compare the S. aureus expression properties of wild type and isogenic ΔsaeRS mutant cells in response to '882 challenge during anaerobic growth conditions. Significant differences were observed between the expression properties of '882 treated S. aureus wild type and saeRS mutant cells in comparison to '882 vehicle (DMSO) treated cells. Overall design: S. aureus strain Newman (wild type) or an isogenic saeRA mutant (ΔsaeRS) were grown in laboratory medium to exponential phase during anaerobic growth conditions, treated with DMSO or '882 for 10 min, total bacterial RNA was isolated, labeled and applied to Affymetrix GeneChips. We sought to determine whether the transcriptional profiles of S. aureus wild type and saeRS mutant cells differed in response to '882.