Differential expression and roles of Staphylococcus aureus virulence determinants during colonization and disease.
ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive, commensal bacterium known to asymptomatically colonize the human skin, nares, and gastrointestinal tract. Colonized individuals are at increased risk for developing S. aureus infections, which range from mild skin and soft tissue infections to more severe diseases, such as endocarditis, bacteremia, sepsis, and osteomyelitis. Different virulence factors are required for S. aureus to infect different body sites. In this study, virulence gene expression was analyzed in two S. aureus isolates during nasal colonization, bacteremia and in the heart during sepsis. These models were chosen to represent the stepwise progression of S. aureus from an asymptomatic colonizer to an invasive pathogen. Expression of 23 putative S. aureus virulence determinants, representing protein and carbohydrate adhesins, secreted toxins, and proteins involved in metal cation acquisition and immune evasion were analyzed. Consistent upregulation of sdrC, fnbA, fhuD, sstD, and hla was observed in the shift between colonization and invasive pathogen, suggesting a prominent role for these genes in staphylococcal pathogenesis. Finally, gene expression data were correlated to the roles of the genes in pathogenesis by using knockout mutants in the animal models. These results provide insights into how S. aureus modifies virulence gene expression between commensal and invasive pathogens.Many bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, asymptomatically colonize human skin and nasal passages but can also cause invasive diseases, such as bacteremia, pneumonia, sepsis, and osteomyelitis. The goal of this study was to analyze differences in the expression of selected S. aureus genes during a commensal lifestyle and as an invasive pathogen to gain insight into the commensal-to-pathogen transition and how a bacterial pathogen adapts to different environments within a host (e.g., from nasal colonization to invasive pathogen). The gene expression data were also used to select genes for which to construct knockout mutants to assess the role of several proteins in nasal colonization and lethal bacteremia. These results not only provide insight into the factors involved in S. aureus disease pathogenesis but also provide potential therapeutic targets.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus-human interactions result in a continuum of outcomes from commensalism to pathogenesis. S. aureus is a clinically important pathogen that asymptomatically colonizes ~25% of humans as a member of the nostril and skin microbiota, where it resides with other bacteria including commensal Corynebacterium species. Commensal Corynebacterium spp. are also positively correlated with S. aureus in chronic polymicrobial diabetic foot infections, distinct from acute monomicrobial S. aureus infections. Recent work by our lab and others indicates that microbe-microbe interactions between S. aureus and human skin/nasal commensals, including Corynebacterium species, affect S. aureus behavior and fitness. Thus, we hypothesized that S. aureus interactions with Corynebacterium spp. diminish S. aureus virulence. We tested this by assaying for changes in S. aureus gene expression during in vitro mono- versus coculture with Corynebacterium striatum, a common skin and nasal commensal. We observed a broad shift in S. aureus gene transcription during in vitro growth with C. striatum, including increased transcription of genes known to exhibit increased expression during human nasal colonization and decreased transcription of virulence genes. S. aureus uses several regulatory pathways to transition between commensal and pathogenic states. One of these, the quorum signal accessory gene regulator (agr) system, was strongly inhibited in response to Corynebacterium spp. Phenotypically, S. aureus exposed to C. striatum exhibited increased adhesion to epithelial cells, reflecting a commensal state, and decreased hemolysin activity, reflecting an attenuation of virulence. Consistent with this, S. aureus displayed diminished fitness in experimental in vivo coinfection with C. striatum when compared to monoinfection. These data support a model in which S. aureus shifts from virulence toward a commensal state when exposed to commensal Corynebacterium species.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Nasal colonization by Staphylococcus aureus is a key risk factor for bacteremia. The objective of this study is to identify genomic modifications occurring in nasal carriage strains of S. aureus as they progress to bacteremia in a cohort of hospitalized patients.<h4>Methods</h4>Eight patients with S. aureus bacteremia were identified. Genomic sequences of the bloodstream isolates were compared with 57 nasal isolates collected longitudinally prior to the occurrence of bacteremia, which covered a timespan of up to 326 days before bacteremia.<h4>Results</h4>Within each subject, nasal colonizing strains were closely related to bacteremia strains. Within a subject, the number of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) observed between time points was greater than within a single time point. Co-colonization and strain replacement were observed in one case. In all cases colonization progressed to bacteremia without addition of new virulence genes. In one case, a mutation in the accessory gene regulator gene caused abrogation of agr function.<h4>Conclusion</h4>S. aureus evolves in the human nares at a variable rate. Progression of S. aureus nasal colonization to nosocomial infection is seldom associated with acquisition of new virulence determinants. Mutation in the agr gene with abrogation of function was associated with progression to bacteremia in one case.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of hospital-acquired infection. In healthy hosts outside of the health care setting, S. aureus is a frequent colonizer of the human nose but rarely causes severe invasive infection such as bacteremia, endocarditis, or osteomyelitis. To identify genes associated with community-acquired invasive isolates, regions of genomic variability, and the S. aureus population structure, we compared 61 community-acquired invasive isolates of S. aureus and 100 nasal carriage isolates from healthy donors using a microarray spotted with PCR products representing every gene from the seven S. aureus sequencing projects. The core genes common to all strains were identified, and 10 dominant lineages of S. aureus were clearly discriminated. Each lineage carried a unique combination of hundreds of "core variable" (CV) genes scattered throughout the chromosome, suggesting a common ancestor but early evolutionary divergence. Many CV genes are regulators of virulence genes or known or predicted to be expressed on the bacterial surface and to interact with the host during nasal colonization and infection. Within each lineage, isolates showed substantial variation in the carriage of mobile genetic elements and their associated virulence and resistance genes, indicating frequent horizontal transfer. However, we were unable to identify any association between lineage or gene and invasive isolates. We suggest that the S. aureus gene combinations necessary for invasive disease may also be necessary for nasal colonization and that community-acquired invasive disease is strongly dependent on host factors.
Project description:Methicillin-resistant S. aureus emerged in recent decades to become a leading cause of infection worldwide. Colonization with MRSA predisposes to infection and facilitates transmission of the pathogen; however, available regimens are ineffective at preventing MRSA colonization. Studies of human nasal flora suggest that resident bacteria play a critical role in limiting S. aureus growth, and prompted us to query whether application of commensal resident bacteria could prevent nasal colonization with MRSA. We established a murine model system to study this question, and showed that mice nasally pre-colonized with S. epidermidis became more resistant to colonization with MRSA. Our study suggests that application of commensal bacteria with antibiotics could represent a more effective strategy to prevent MRSA colonization.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a commensal bacterium and pathogen. Identifying biomarkers for the transition from colonization to disease caused by this organism would be useful. Several S. aureus small RNAs (sRNAs) regulate virulence. We investigated presence and expression of 8 sRNAs in 83 S. aureus strains from 42 patients with sepsis or septic shock and 41 asymptomatic colonized carriers. Small pathogenicity island sRNAs sprB and sprC were clade specific. Six sRNAs had variable expression not correlated with clinical status. Expression of RNAIII was lower in strains from septic shock patients than in strains from colonized patients. When RNAIII was associated with expression of sprD, colonizing strains could be discriminated from strains in patients with bloodstream infections, including patients with sepsis and septic shock. Isolates associated with colonization might have sRNAs with target expression different from those of disease isolates. Monitoring expression of RNAIII and sprD could help determine severity of bloodstream infections.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a human commensal bacterium found in the nasal cavity and other body sites. Identifying risk factors for S. aureus nasal carriage is of interest, as nasal carriage is a risk factor for subsequent invasive infection. We recently investigated the influence of host genetics on S. aureus carriage in Danish middle-aged and elderly twins, which indicated no significant heritability that could account for the observed S. aureus carriage. In the present study, we performed a questionnaire-based study of S. aureus colonization on the same cohort of 2,196 Danish middle-aged and elderly twins to identify specific risk factors for S. aureus nasal colonization, including analyzing the paired twins (n?=?478) that were discordant for S. aureus colonization. We found associations between risk factors and S. aureus nasal colonization among middle-aged and elderly twins, including age, male gender, psoriasis, and atopic diseases. Also, present living on a farm is clearly associated with S. aureus colonization, while smoking had a borderline statistically significant protective effect.
Project description:Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization predicts later infection, with both host and pathogen determinants of invasive disease.This nested case-control study evaluates predictors of MRSA bacteremia in an 8-intensive care unit (ICU) prospective adult cohort from 1 September 2003 through 30 April 2005 with active MRSA surveillance and collection of ICU, post-ICU, and readmission MRSA isolates. We selected MRSA carriers who did (cases) and those who did not (controls) develop MRSA bacteremia. Generating assembled genome sequences, we evaluated 30 MRSA genes potentially associated with virulence and invasion. Using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression, we assessed the association of these genes with MRSA bacteremia, controlling for host risk factors.We collected 1578 MRSA isolates from 520 patients. We analyzed host and pathogen factors for 33 cases and 121 controls. Predictors of MRSA bacteremia included a diagnosis of cancer, presence of a central venous catheter, hyperglycemia (glucose level, >200 mg/dL), and infection with a MRSA strain carrying the gene for staphylococcal enterotoxin P (sep). Receipt of an anti-MRSA medication had a significant protective effect.In an analysis controlling for host factors, colonization with MRSA carrying sep increased the risk of MRSA bacteremia. Identification of risk-adjusted genetic determinants of virulence may help to improve prediction of invasive disease and suggest new targets for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a major bacterial pathogen, which causes severe blood and tissue infections that frequently emerge by autoinfection with asymptomatically carried nose and skin populations. However, recent studies report that bloodstream isolates differ systematically from those found in the nose and skin, exhibiting reduced toxicity toward leukocytes. In two patients, an attenuated toxicity bloodstream infection evolved from an asymptomatically carried high-toxicity nasal strain by loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding the transcription factor repressor of surface proteins (rsp). Here, we report that rsp knockout mutants lead to global transcriptional and proteomic reprofiling, and they exhibit the greatest signal in a genome-wide screen for genes influencing S. aureus survival in human cells. This effect is likely to be mediated in part via SSR42, a long-noncoding RNA. We show that rsp controls SSR42 expression, is induced by hydrogen peroxide, and is required for normal cytotoxicity and hemolytic activity. Rsp inactivation in laboratory- and bacteremia-derived mutants attenuates toxin production, but up-regulates other immune subversion proteins and reduces lethality during experimental infection. Crucially, inactivation of rsp preserves bacterial dissemination, because it affects neither formation of deep abscesses in mice nor survival in human blood. Thus, we have identified a spontaneously evolving, attenuated-cytotoxicity, nonhemolytic S. aureus phenotype, controlled by a pleiotropic transcriptional regulator/noncoding RNA virulence regulatory system, capable of causing S. aureus bloodstream infections. Such a phenotype could promote deep infection with limited early clinical manifestations, raising concerns that bacterial evolution within the human body may contribute to severe infection.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus colonizes epithelial surfaces, but it can also cause severe infections. The aim of this work was to investigate whether bacterial virulence correlates with defined types of tissue infections. For this, we collected 10⁻12 clinical S. aureus strains each from nasal colonization, and from patients with endoprosthesis infection, hematogenous osteomyelitis, and sepsis. All strains were characterized by genotypic analysis, and by the expression of virulence factors. The host⁻pathogen interaction was studied through several functional assays in osteoblast cultures. Additionally, selected strains were tested in a murine sepsis/osteomyelitis model. We did not find characteristic bacterial features for the defined infection types; rather, a wide range in all strain collections regarding cytotoxicity and invasiveness was observed. Interestingly, all strains were able to persist and to form small colony variants (SCVs). However, the low-cytotoxicity strains survived in higher numbers, and were less efficiently cleared by the host than the highly cytotoxic strains. In summary, our results indicate that not only destructive, but also low-cytotoxicity strains are able to induce infections. The low-cytotoxicity strains can successfully survive, and are less efficiently cleared from the host than the highly cytotoxic strains, which represent a source for chronic infections. The understanding of this interplay/evolution between the host and the pathogen during infection, with specific attention towards low-cytotoxicity isolates, will help to optimize treatment strategies for invasive and therapy-refractory infection courses.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of hospital-acquired infection. In healthy hosts outside of the health care setting, S.aureus is a frequent colonizer of the human nose but rarely causes severe invasive infection such as bacteremia, endocarditis, or osteomyelitis. To identify genes associated with community-acquired invasive isolates, regions of genomic variability, and the S.aureus population structure, we compared 61 community-acquired invasive isolates of S.aureus and 100 nasal carriage isolates from healthy donors using a microarray spotted with PCR products representing every gene from the seven S.aureus sequencing projects. The core genes common to all strains were identified, and 10 dominant lineages of S.aureus were clearly discriminated. Each lineage carried a unique combination of hundreds of core variable (CV) genes scattered throughout the chromosome, suggesting a common ancestor but early evolutionary divergence. Many CV genes are regulators of virulence genes or known or predicted to be expressed on the bacterial surface and to interact with the host during nasal colonization and infection. Within each lineage, isolates showed substantial variation in the carriage of mobile genetic elements and their associated virulence and resistance genes, indicating frequent horizontal transfer. However, we were unable to identify any association between lineage or gene and invasive isolates. We suggest that the S.aureus gene combinations necessary for invasive disease may also be necessary for nasal colonization and that community-acquired invasive disease is strongly dependent on host factors. Data is also available from http://bugs.sgul.ac.uk/E-BUGS-33