A Novel ESAT-6 Secretion System-Secreted Protein EsxX of Community-Associated Staphylococcus aureus Lineage ST398 Contributes to Immune Evasion and Virulence.
ABSTRACT: The ESAT-6 secretion system (ESS) has been reported to contribute to the virulence and pathogenicity of several Staphylococcus aureus strains such as USA300 and Newman. However, the role of the ESS in community-associated S. aureus (CA-SA) lineage ST398 in China is not well understood. By comparing the ess locus of ST398 with the published S. aureus sequence in the NCBI database, we found one gene in the ess locus encoding a novel WXG superfamily protein that is highly conserved only in ST398. LC-MS/MS and Western blot analysis revealed that this protein is a novel secreted protein controlled by the ST398 ESS, and we named the protein EsxX. Although EsxX was not under the control of the accessory gene regulator like many other virulence factors and had no influence on several phenotypes of ST398, such as growth, hemolysis, and biofilm formation, it showed important impacts on immune evasion and virulence in ST398. An esxX deletion mutant led to significantly reduced resistance to neutrophil killing and decreased virulence in murine skin and blood infection models, indicating its essential contribution to the evasion of innate host defense and virulence to support the pathogenesis of ST398 infections. The function of this novel secreted protein EsxX might help us better understand the role of the ESS in the virulence and epidemic success of the CA-SA lineage ST398.
Project description:Novel Staphylococcus aureus clones continue to emerge that cause infections in otherwise healthy people. One example is the sequence type (ST) 398 lineage, which we show here is increasing in importance as a significant cause of community-associated (CA) human infections in China. We have a profound lack of understanding about what determines the considerable virulence potential of such newly emerging clones. Information about the contribution to virulence of the more recently discovered ESAT-6 secretion system (ESS) has remained particularly scarce. The Chinese ST398 isolates exhibited significantly increased expression of ESS genes as compared to predominant hospital-associated clones, which we found is likely due to increased expression of the accessory gene regulator (Agr) system and control of ESS by Agr. Importantly, deletion of essB in ST398 resulted in significantly reduced resistance to neutrophil killing and decreased virulence in murine skin and blood infection models. Our results demonstrate a key function of ESS in promoting virulence and mechanisms of resistance to innate host defense in an important emerging CA-S. aureus lineage. They suggest that ESS has a so far underestimated role in promoting aggressive virulence and epidemiological success of S. aureus.
Project description:The emerging livestock-associated Staphylococcus aureus multilocus sequence type 398 (ST398) appears to have augmented virulence in humans. However, it is unclear if all ST398 strains are equally virulent. Here, we present the chromosomal sequence of a low-virulence ST398 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) strain, GD1696, to investigate ST398 sublineage virulence.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus multilocus sequence type 398 (ST398) is responsible for an increasing number of severe infections in humans. There are no reports detailing if all ST398 strains are equally virulent. We present the genome sequence of the moderate-virulence ST398 methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus strain GD1108, determined in a Caenorhabditis elegans infection model, to reveal the ST398 sublineage virulence.
Project description:Multilocus sequence type 398 (ST398) methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) has been shown to have augmented pathogenicity in humans. However, it has not been determined whether all ST398 strains are equally virulent. We present here the genome sequence of a high-virulence ST398 MSSA strain, GD487, to explore potential insights into ST398 virulence.
Project description:The ESAT-6-like secretion system (ESS) of Staphylococcus aureus is assembled in the bacterial membrane from core components that promote the secretion of WXG-like proteins (EsxA, EsxB, EsxC, and EsxD) and the EssD effector. Genes encoding the ESS secretion machinery components, effector, and WXG-like proteins are located in the ess locus. Here, we identify essH, a heretofore uncharacterized gene of the ess locus, whose product is secreted via an N-terminal signal peptide into the extracellular medium of staphylococcal cultures. EssH exhibits two peptidoglycan hydrolase activities, cleaving the pentaglycine cross bridge and the amide bond of N-acetylmuramyl-l-alanine, thereby separating glycan chains and wall peptides with cleaved cross bridges. Unlike other peptidoglycan hydrolases, EssH does not promote the lysis of staphylococci. EssH residues Cys199 and His254, which are conserved in other CHAP domain enzymes, are required for peptidoglycan hydrolase activity and for S. aureus ESS secretion. These data suggest that EssH and its murein hydrolase activity are required for protein secretion by the ESS pathway.IMPORTANCE Gene clusters encoding WXG-like proteins and FtsK/SpoIIIE-like P loop ATPases in Firmicutes encode type 7b secretion systems (T7bSS) for the transport of select protein substrates. The Staphylococcus aureus T7bSS assembles in the bacterial membrane and promotes the secretion of WXG-like proteins and effectors. The mechanisms whereby staphylococci extend the T7SS across the bacterial cell wall envelope are not known. Here, we show that staphylococci secrete EssH to cleave their peptidoglycan, thereby enabling T7bSS transport of proteins across the bacterial cell wall envelope.
Project description:An increasing number of severe infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus ST398 strains has been observed. However, it has not been elucidated whether all ST398 strains are equally virulent. We collected 13 strains from China and Canada to test in a Caenorhabditis elegans infection model and compared their whole genome sequences (WGS) to explore potential insights into their virulence. All isolates belonged to ST398-methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) with variant spa types (t034, t571, t1451, t1250). Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and WGS analyses showed that the 13 isolates clustered into 3 genomic types (Types A-C). WGS and prophage phylogenetic analyses also revealed that the strains could be divided into 3 phage groups (Groups 1-3), which correlated with high-, moderate-, and low-nematocidal activities, with mean killing rates of 94, 67, and 40%, respectively. Group 1 carried ?Sa3-Group 1 (?Sa3-G1), Group 2 carried ?Sa3-G2, and Group 3 lacked ?Sa3. Interestingly, strain GD1706 (that genetically clustered within Type C) and strain GD487 (within Type B) both carried ?Sa3-G1 like phages and killed 92% of the nematodes, similar to the Type A strains carrying ?Sa3-G1. This study demonstrated that different ST398 sub-lineages possess variable virulence capacities, depending on the presence or absence, as well as the structure of the prophage ?Sa3 that carries virulence factors. IMPORTANCE:Since first being reported in the early 2000s, Staphylococcus aureus ST398 has not only become recognized as a frequent colonizing strain in economically important livestock animals, but has also proven to be a concern for infection in humans and, in particular, has been linked to higher rates of severe invasive human infections. We collected ST398 strains from China and Canada to test in a worm (Caenorhabditis elegans) infection model and compared their whole genome sequences to gain insight into pathogenesis. We have shown that different ST398 sub-strains differ in their virulence potential based on the presence or absence and structure of prophage ?Sa3, which carries important virulence factors. Our observations suggest that ST398 strains are relatively heterogeneous from a clinical perspective, and more studies are needed to differentiate between virulent and non-virulent ST398 strains to determine the true global spread of relevant sub-strains.
Project description:The high prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) ST398 among pigs in certain European countries and North America and its occurrence in other animal species raises a question concerning the molecular mechanisms mediating the success of this lineage. In this study a panel of S. aureus strains belonging to sequence type (ST) 5 (n?=?4), ST8 (n?=?5), ST15 (n?=?5), ST22 (n?=?8), clonal complex (CC) 30 (n?=?8), CC97 (n?=?8), CC130 (n?=?4), CC151 (n?=?4) and ST398 (n?=?18) were screened by DNA microarray and PCR for the carriage of virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes. Isolates belonging to the same sequence type/clonal complex (ST/CC) were found to share similar virulence gene profiles. The ST398 lineage displayed the lowest content of virulence genes, which consisted mainly of genes detected among the majority or all of the analysed lineages. All MRSA ST398 isolates lacked accessory virulence genes that were detected in other ST/CC. In contrast to virulence genotype, the antimicrobial resistance genes profiles varied between isolates belonging to the same ST/CC and profile similarities could be observed for isolates from different lineages. MRSA ST398 isolates in particular displayed significant diversity and high content of antimicrobial resistance genes. This was comparable with certain MRSA belonging to other sequence types particularly the equine MRSA ST8. The apparent lack of significant virulence genes among MRSA ST398 strains, demonstrates that the lineage features a unique genetic background but no ST398-specific virulence markers could be identified.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus: with the sequence type (ST) 398 was previously associated with livestock carriage. However, in recent years livestock-independent S. aureus ST398 has emerged, representing a potential health risk for humans especially in nosocomial settings. Judged by whole-genome sequencing analyses, the livestock- and human originated strains belong to two different S. aureus ST398 clades but, to date, it was not known to what extent these clades differ in terms of actual virulence. Therefore, the objective of this study was to profile the exoproteomes of 30 representative S. aureus ST398 strains by mass spectrometry, to assess clade-specific differences in virulence factor secretion, and to correlate the identified proteins and their relative abundance to the strains' actual virulence. Although the human-originated strains are more heterogeneous at the genome level, our observations show that they are more homogeneous in terms of virulence factor production than the livestock-associated strains. To assess differences in virulence, infection models based on larvae of the wax moth Galleria mellonella and the human HeLa cell line were applied. Correlation of the exoproteome data to larval killing and toxicity toward HeLa cells uncovered critical roles of the staphylococcal Sbi, SpA, SCIN and CHIPS proteins in virulence. These findings were validated by showing that sbi or spa mutant bacteria are attenuated in G. mellonella and that the purified SCIN and CHIPS proteins are toxic for HeLa cells. Altogether, we show that exoproteome profiling allows the identification of critical determinants for virulence of livestock-associated and human-originated S. aureus ST398 strains.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Staphylococcus aureus is a common human and animal opportunistic pathogen. In humans nasal carriage of S. aureus is a risk factor for various infections. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus ST398 is highly prevalent in pigs in Europe and North America. The mechanism of successful pig colonization by MRSA ST398 is poorly understood. Previously, we developed a nasal colonization model of porcine nasal mucosa explants to identify molecular traits involved in nasal MRSA colonization of pigs. RESULTS: We report the analysis of changes in the transcription of MRSA ST398 strain S0462 during colonization on the explant epithelium. Major regulated genes were encoding metabolic processes and regulation of these genes may represent metabolic adaptation to nasal mucosa explants. Colonization was not accompanied by significant changes in transcripts of the main virulence associated genes or known human colonization factors. Here, we documented regulation of two genes which have potential influence on S. aureus colonization; cysteine extracellular proteinase (scpA) and von Willebrand factor-binding protein (vWbp, encoded on SaPIbov5). Colonization with isogenic-deletion strains (?vwbp and ?scpA) did not alter the ex vivo nasal S. aureus colonization compared to wild type. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that nasal colonization with MRSA ST398 is a complex event that is accompanied with changes in bacterial gene expression regulation and metabolic adaptation.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Recently, a new livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Sequence Type 398 (ST398) isolate has emerged worldwide. Although there have been reports of invasive disease in humans, MRSA ST398 colonization is much more common in livestock and demonstrates especially high prevalence rates in pigs and calves. The aim of this study was to compare the genome sequence of an ST398 MRSA isolate with other S. aureus genomes in order to identify genetic traits that may explain the success of this particular lineage. Therefore, we determined the whole genome sequence of S0385, an MRSA ST398 isolate from a human case of endocarditis. RESULTS: The entire genome sequence of S0385 demonstrated considerable accessory genome content differences relative to other S. aureus genomes. Several mobile genetic elements that confer antibiotic resistance were identified, including a novel composite of an type V (5C2&5) Staphylococcal Chromosome Cassette mec (SCCmec) with distinct joining (J) regions. The presence of multiple integrative conjugative elements combined with the absence of a type I restriction and modification system on one of the two nuSa islands, could enhance horizontal gene transfer in this strain. The ST398 MRSA isolate carries a unique pathogenicity island which encodes homologues of two excreted virulence factors; staphylococcal complement inhibitor (SCIN) and von Willebrand factor-binding protein (vWbp). However, several virulence factors such as enterotoxins and phage encoded toxins, including Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), were not identified in this isolate. CONCLUSIONS: Until now MRSA ST398 isolates did not cause frequent invasive disease in humans, which may be due to the absence of several common virulence factors. However, the proposed enhanced ability of these isolates to acquire mobile elements may lead to the rapid acquisition of determinants which contribute to virulence in human infections.