Application of an agr-Specific Antivirulence Compound as Therapy for Staphylococcus aureus-Induced Inflammatory Skin Disease.
ABSTRACT: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory skin disease where more than 90% of patients affected are colonized with Staphylococcus aureus. In AD, S. aureus ?-toxin is a major virulence factor causing cutaneous inflammation via mast cell degranulation. ?-toxin is controlled by the S. aureus agr quorum sensing system, and thus we addressed whether interference with agr signaling would limit skin inflammation. Indeed, treatment of S. aureus with the agr-inhibitor solonamide B (SolB) abolished ?-toxin production and reduced skin inflammation in a mouse model of inflammatory skin disease, demonstrating the potential of antivirulence therapy in treating S. aureus-induced skin disorders.
Project description:Colonization of the skin by Staphylococcus aureus is associated with exacerbation of atopic dermatitis (AD), but any direct mechanism through which dysbiosis of the skin microbiome may influence the development of AD is unknown. Here, we show that proteases and phenol-soluble modulin ? (PSM?) secreted by S. aureus lead to endogenous epidermal proteolysis and skin barrier damage that promoted inflammation in mice. We further show that clinical isolates of different coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) species residing on normal skin produced autoinducing peptides that inhibited the S. aureus agr system, in turn decreasing PSM? expression. These autoinducing peptides from skin microbiome CoNS species potently suppressed PSM? expression in S. aureus isolates from subjects with AD without inhibiting S. aureus growth. Metagenomic analysis of the AD skin microbiome revealed that the increase in the relative abundance of S. aureus in patients with active AD correlated with a lower CoNS autoinducing peptides to S. aureus ratio, thus overcoming the peptides' capacity to inhibit the S. aureus agr system. Characterization of a S. hominis clinical isolate identified an autoinducing peptide (SYNVCGGYF) as a highly potent inhibitor of S. aureus agr activity, capable of preventing S. aureus-mediated epithelial damage and inflammation on murine skin. Together, these findings show how members of the normal human skin microbiome can contribute to epithelial barrier homeostasis by using quorum sensing to inhibit S. aureus toxin production.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is an important pathogen causing infections in humans and animals. Increasing problems with antimicrobial resistance has prompted the development of alternative treatment strategies, including antivirulence approaches targeting virulence regulation such as the agr quorum sensing system. agr is naturally induced by cyclic auto-inducing peptides (AIPs) binding to the AgrC receptor and cyclic peptide inhibitors have been identified competing with AIP binding to AgrC. Here, we disclose that small, linear peptidomimetics can act as specific and potent inhibitors of the S. aureus agr system via intercepting AIP-AgrC signal interaction at low micromolar concentrations. The corresponding linear peptide did not have this ability. This is the first report of a linear peptide-like molecule that interferes with agr activation by competitive binding to AgrC. Prospectively, these peptidomimetics may be valuable starting scaffolds for the development of new inhibitors of staphylococcal quorum sensing and virulence gene expression.
Project description:The expression of most Staphylococcus aureus virulence factors is controlled by the agr locus, which encodes a two-component signaling pathway whose activating ligand is an agr-encoded autoinducing peptide (AIP). A polymorphism in the amino acid sequence of the AIP and of its corresponding receptor divides S. aureus strains into four major groups. Within a given group, each strain produces a peptide that can activate the agr response in the other member strains, whereas the AIPs belonging to different groups are usually mutually inhibitory. We investigated a possible relationship between agr groups and human S. aureus disease by studying 198 S. aureus strains isolated from 14 asymptomatic carriers, 66 patients with suppurative infection, and 114 patients with acute toxemia. The agr group and the distribution of 24 toxin genes were analyzed by PCR, and the genetic background was determined by means of amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis. The isolates were relatively evenly distributed among the four agrgroups, with 61 strains belonging to agr group I, 49 belonging to group II, 43 belonging to group III, and 45 belonging to group IV. Principal coordinate analysis performed on the AFLP distance matrix divided the 198 strains into three main phylogenetic groups, AF1 corresponding to strains of agr group IV, AF2 corresponding to strains of agr groups I and II, and AF3 corresponding to strains of agr group III. This indicated that the agr type was linked to the genetic background. A relationship between genetic background, agr group, and disease type was observed for several toxin-mediated diseases: for instance, agr group IV strains were associated with generalized exfoliative syndromes, and phylogenetic group AF1 strains with bullous impetigo. Among the suppurative infections, endocarditis strains mainly belonged to phylogenetic group AF2 and agr groups I and II. While these results do not show a direct role of the agr type in the type of human disease caused by S. aureus, the agr group may reflect an ancient evolutionary division of S. aureus in terms of this species' fundamental biology.
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:In the human pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, the agr quorum sensing system controls expression of a multitude of virulence factors and yet, agr negative cells frequently arise both in the laboratory and in some infections. The aim of this study was to examine the possible reasons behind this phenomenon.We examined viability of wild type and agr mutant cell cultures using a live-dead stain and observed that in stationary phase, 3% of the wild type population became non-viable whereas for agr mutant cells non-viable cells were barely detectable. The effect appears to be mediated by RNAIII, the effector molecule of agr, as ectopic overexpression of RNAIII resulted in 60% of the population becoming non-viable. This effect was not due to toxicity from delta toxin that is encoded by the hld gene located within RNAIII as hld overexpression did not cause cell death. Importantly, lysed S. aureus cells promoted bacterial growth. Our data suggest that RNAIII mediated cell death of agr positive but not agr negative cells provides a selective advantage to the agr negative cell population and may contribute to the common appearance of agr negative cells in S. aureus populations.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus causes chronic and relapsing infections, which may be difficult to treat. So-called small colony variants (SCVs) have been associated with chronic infections and their occurrence has been shown to increase under antibiotic pressure, low pH and intracellular localization. In clinics, S. aureus isolated from invasive infections often show a dysfunction in the accessory gene regulator (agr), a major virulence regulatory system in S. aureus. To assess whether intracellular environment and agr function influence SCV formation, an infection model was established using lung epithelial cells and skin fibroblasts. This allowed analyzing intracellular survival and localization of a panel of S. aureus wild type strains and their isogenic agr knock out mutants as well as a natural dysfunctional agr strain by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Furthermore, bacterial colonies were quantified after 1, 3, and 5 days of intracellular survival by time-lapse analysis to determine kinetics of colony appearance and SCV formation. Here, we show that S. aureus strains with an agr knock out predominantly resided in a neutral environment, whereas wild type strains and an agr complemented strain resided in an acidic environment. S. aureus agr mutants derived from an intracellular environment showed a higher percentage of SCVs as compared to their corresponding wild type strains. Neutralizing acidic phagolysosomes with chloroquine resulted in a significant reduction of SCVs in S. aureus wild type strain 6850, but not in its agr mutant indicating a pH dependent formation of SCVs in the wild type strain. The in-depth understanding of the interplay between intracellular persistence, agr function and pH should help to identify new therapeutic options facilitating the treatment of chronic S. aureus infections in the future.
Project description:Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is an important canine pathogen implicated in an increasing number of human infections. Along with rising levels of methicillin and multidrug resistance, staphylococcal biofilms are a complicating factor for treatment and contribute to device, implant, and surgical infections. Staphylococcal virulence, including biofilm formation, is regulated in part by the quorum sensing accessory gene regulator system (agr). The signal molecule for agr, known as the autoinducing peptide molecule, contains polymorphisms that result in the formation of distinct groups. In S. pseudintermedius, 4 groups (i.e., groups I, II, III, and IV) have been identified but not comprehensively examined for associations with infection type, virulence factor carriage, or phylogenetic relationships-all of which have been found to be significant in S. aureus In this study, 160 clinical canine isolates from Texas, including isolates from healthy dogs (n?=?40) and 3 different infection groups (pyoderma, urinary tract, and surgical, n?=?40 each), were sequenced. The agr group, biofilm-producing capabilities, toxin gene carriage, antimicrobial resistance, and sequence type (ST) were identified for all isolates. While no significant associations were discovered among the clinical infection types and agr groups, agr II isolates were significantly less common than any other group in diseased dogs. Furthermore, agr II isolates were less likely than other agr groups to be multidrug resistant and to carry toxin genes expA and sec-canine Fifty-two (33%) of the 160 isolates were methicillin resistant, and the main sequence types (ST64, ST68, ST71, ST84, ST150, and ST155) of methicillin-resistant strains of S. pseudintermedius (MRSP) were identified for the geographic region.IMPORTANCE Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is an important disease-causing bacterium in dogs and is recognized as a growing threat to human health. Due to increasing multidrug resistance, discovery of alternative methods for treatment of these infections is vital. Interference with one target for alternative treatment, the quorum sensing system agr, has demonstrated clinical improvement of infections in S. aureus animal models. In this study, we sequenced and characterized 160 clinical S. pseudintermedius isolates and their agr systems in order to increase understanding of the epidemiology of the agr group and clarify its associations with types of infection and antimicrobial resistance. We found that isolates with agr type II were significantly less common than other agr types in diseased dogs. This provides valuable information to veterinary clinical microbiologists and clinicians, especially as less research has been performed on infection associations of agr and its therapeutic potential in S. pseudintermedius than in S. aureus.
Project description:The Staphylococcus aureus accessory gene regulator (agr) is a prototype quorum-sensing system in Gram-positive bacteria and a paradigmatic example of gene regulation by a small regulatory RNA, RNAIII. Using genome-wide transcriptional profiling in the community-associated methicillin-resistant (CA-MRSA) strain MW2, we demonstrate here that in contrast to the current model of target gene regulation by agr, a large subset of agr-regulated genes is controlled independently of RNAIII. This group comprised predominantly metabolism genes, whereas virulence factors were mostly controlled by RNAIII. Remarkably, the phenol-soluble modulin (PSM) leukocidin genes were the only virulence determinants under RNAIII-independent control, emphasizing their exceptional role in S. aureus physiology and pathogenesis. Of note, PSM promoters bound the AgrA response regulator protein, previously believed to interact exclusively with agr promoters, explaining the exceptionally strict control of PSMs by agr. Our results suggest that virulence factor control is a secondary acquisition of the agr regulon, which evolved by development of RNAIII around the mRNA of the PSM d-toxin, exemplifying how gene control via a small regulatory RNA may be linked to a pre-established regulatory circuit. In addition to elucidating agr control in CA-MRSA, which revealed features potentially crucial for CA-MRSA pathogenesis, our study establishes a novel two-level model of cell-density dependent gene regulation in S. aureus and gives important insight into the connection of metabolism and virulence control in this leading opportunistic pathogen. Keywords: Wild type control vs mutant Wild type in triplicate is compared to mutant in triplicate totalling 27 samples
Project description:Mupirocin, a topical antibiotic, has been utilized for decades to treat Staphylococcus aureus skin infections, as well as to decolonize patients at risk of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infection. The aims of this study were to investigate the expression of ?-toxin (encoded by the hla gene) in ten clinical MRSA strains (MIC = 1024 ?g/ml) in response to a sub-inhibitory concentration of mupirocin (1/32 minimum inhibitory concentration [MIC]) (32 ?g/ml) by using ?-toxin activity determination and enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA). Subsequently, real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to examine the expression of saeR, agrA, RNAIII, and sarA genes under sub-inhibitory concentration of mupirocin in order to investigate the mechanism of action of this treatment regarding its strong inhibition of ?-toxin expression. For all the strains tested, mupirocin dramatically reduced mRNA levels of ?-toxin. The results indicated that ?-toxin activity in mupirocin-treated groups was significantly lower than that in untreated groups. The results show that the levels of agrA, RNAIII, saeR, and sarA expression significantly decrease by 11.82- to 2.23-fold (P < 0.01). Moreover, we speculate that mupirocin-induced inhibition of ?-toxin expression may be related to the inhibition of regulatory loci, such as agr, sarA and saeRS. More specifically, we found that the mechanism involves inhibiting the expression of agrA and RNAIII. In conclusion, sub-inhibitory concentrations of mupirocin strongly inhibit alpha-toxin production in high-level mupirocin-resistant MRSA by down-regulating agr, saeRS and sarA, which could potentially be developed as a supplemental treatment to control high-level mupirocin-resistant MRSA infection and reduce the risk of infection and colonization.
Project description:RNAIII from Staphylococcus lugdunensis (RNAIII-sl) in a Staphylococcus aureus agr mutant partially restored the Agr phenotype. A chimeric construct consisting of the 5' end of RNAIII-sl and the 3' end of RNAIII from S. aureus restored the Agr phenotype to a greater extent, suggesting the presence of independent regulatory domains.