ABSTRACT: Background:The ability of Staphylococcus aureus to evade killing by human neutrophils significantly contributes to disease progression. In this study, we characterize an influential role for the S. aureus SaeR/S 2-component gene regulatory system in suppressing monocyte production of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-?) to subsequently influence human neutrophil priming. Methods:Using flow cytometry and TNF-? specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays we identify the primary cellular source of TNF-? in human blood and in purified peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) during interaction with USA300 and an isogenic saeR/S deletion mutant (USA300?saeR/S). Assays with conditioned media from USA300 and USA300?saeR/S exposed PBMCs were used to investigate priming on neutrophil bactericidal activity. Results:TNF-? production from monocytes was significantly reduced following challenge with USA300 compared to USA300?saeR/S. We observed that priming of neutrophils using conditioned medium from peripheral blood mononuclear cells stimulated with USA300?saeR/S significantly increased neutrophil bactericidal activity against USA300 relative to unprimed neutrophils and neutrophils primed with USA300 conditioned medium. The increased neutrophil bactericidal activity was associated with enhanced reactive oxygen species production that was significantly influenced by elevated TNF-? concentrations. Conclusions:Our findings identify an immune evasion strategy used by S. aureus to impede neutrophil priming and subsequent bactericidal activity.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) causes a range of diseases ranging from superficial skin and soft-tissue infections to invasive and life-threatening conditions (Klevens et al., 2007; Kobayashi et al., 2015). S. aureus utilizes the Sae sensory system to adapt to neutrophil challenge. Although the roles of the SaeR response regulator and its cognate sensor kinase SaeS have been demonstrated to be critical for surviving neutrophil interaction and for causing infection, the roles for the accessory proteins SaeP and SaeQ remain incompletely defined. To characterize the functional role of these proteins during innate immune interaction, we generated isogenic deletion mutants lacking these accessory genes in USA300 (USA300?saeP and USA300?saeQ). S. aureus survival was increased following phagocytosis of USA300?saeP compared to USA300 by neutrophils. Additionally, secreted extracellular proteins produced by USA300?saeP cells caused significantly more plasma membrane damage to human neutrophils than extracellular proteins produced by USA300 cells. Deletion of saeQ resulted in a similar phenotype, but effects did not reach significance during neutrophil interaction. The enhanced cytotoxicity of USA300?saeP cells toward human neutrophils correlated with an increased expression of bi-component leukocidins known to target these immune cells. A saeP and saeQ double mutant (USA300?saePQ) showed a significant increase in survival following neutrophil phagocytosis that was comparable to the USA300?saeP single mutant and increased the virulence of USA300 during murine bacteremia. These data provide evidence that SaeP modulates the Sae-mediated response of S. aureus against human neutrophils and suggest that saeP and saeQ together impact pathogenesis in vivo.
Project description:Neutrophils are the first line of defense after a pathogen has breached the epithelial barriers, and unimpaired neutrophil functions are essential to clear infections. Staphylococcus aureus is a prevalent human pathogen that is able to withstand neutrophil killing, yet the mechanisms used by S. aureus to inhibit neutrophil clearance remain incompletely defined. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a vital neutrophil antimicrobial mechanism. Herein, we test the hypothesis that S. aureus uses the SaeR/S two-component gene regulatory system to produce virulence factors that reduce neutrophil ROS production. With the use of ROS probes, the temporal and overall production of neutrophil ROS was assessed during exposure to the clinically relevant S. aureus USA300 (strain LAC) and its isogenic mutant LAC?saeR/S Our results demonstrated that SaeR/S-regulated factors do not inhibit neutrophil superoxide (O2-) production. However, subsequent neutrophil ROS production was significantly reduced during exposure to LAC compared with LAC?saeR/S In addition, neutrophil H2O2 production was reduced significantly by SaeR/S-regulated factors by a mechanism independent of catalase. Consequently, the reduction in neutrophil H2O2 resulted in decreased production of the highly antimicrobial agent hypochlorous acid/hypochlorite anion (HOCl/-OCl). These findings suggest a new evasion strategy used by S. aureus to diminish a vital neutrophil antimicrobial mechanism.
Project description:The ability of Staphylococcus aureus to infect tissues is dependent on precise control of virulence through gene-regulatory systems. While the SaeR/S two-component system has been shown to be a major regulator of S. aureus virulence, the influence of the host environment on SaeR/S-regulated genes (saeR/S targets) remains incompletely defined. Using QuantiGene 2.0 transcriptional assays, we examined expression of genes with the SaeR binding site in USA300 exposed to human and mouse neutrophils and host-derived peptides and during subcutaneous skin infection. We found that only some of the saeR/S targets, as opposed to the entire SaeR/S virulon, were activated within 5 and 10 min of interacting with human neutrophils as well as ?-defensin. Furthermore, mouse neutrophils promoted transcription of saeR/S targets despite lacking ?-defensin, and the murine skin environment elicited a distinctive expression profile of saeR/S targets. These findings indicate that saeR/S-mediated transcription is unique to and dependent on specific host stimuli. By using isogenic USA300?saeR/S and USA300?agr knockout strains, we also determined that SaeR/S is the major regulator of virulence factors, while Agr, a quorum-sensing two-component system, has moderate influence on transcription of the saeR/S targets under the tested physiological conditions.
Project description:While Staphylococcus aureus accelerates human neutrophil cell death, the underlying host- and pathogen-derived mechanisms remain incompletely defined. Previous studies demonstrated that the S. aureus SaeR/S sensory system is essential for pathogen survival following neutrophil phagocytosis. Herein, we demonstrate that the SaeR/S system promoted accelerated cell death, suppressed phosphorylation of nuclear factor-?B, and reduced interleukin-8 (IL-8) production in human neutrophils. Treatment of neutrophils with recombinant IL-8 significantly reduced bacterial burden and apoptosis. Our findings demonstrate a mechanism by which S. aureus suppresses the early neutrophil-derived IL-8 response to disrupt cell fate and promote disease.
Project description:Cigarette smoke (CS) predisposes exposed individuals to respiratory infections not only by suppressing immune response but also by enhancing the virulence of pathogenic bacteria. As per our observations, in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain USA300, CS extract (CSE) potentiates biofilm formation via the down-regulation of quorum-sensing regulon accessory gene regulator. Because accessory gene regulator is a global regulator of the staphylococcal virulome, in the present study we sought to identify the effects of CS exposure on staphylococcal gene expression using RNAseq. Comparative analysis of RNAseq profiles revealed the up-regulation of important virulence genes encoding surface adhesins (fibronectin- and fibrinogen-binding proteins A and B and clumping factor B) and proteins involved in immune evasion, such as staphylocoagulase, staphylococcal protein A, and nuclease. In concurrence with the RNAseq data, we observed: (1) significant up-regulation of the ability of CSE-exposed USA300 to evade phagocytosis by macrophages and neutrophils, a known function of staphylococcal protein A; and (2) twofold higher (P?<?0.001) number of CSE-exposed USA300 escaping neutrophil extracellular trap-mediated killing by neutrophils as a result of CS-mediated induction of nuclease. Importantly, in three different mouse strains, C57BL6/J, Balb/C, and A/J, we observed significantly higher pulmonary bacterial burden in animals infected with CSE-exposed USA300 as compared with medium-exposed control USA300. Taken together, these observations indicate that bioactive chemicals in CS induce hypervirulence by augmenting the ability of USA300 to evade bactericidal functions of leukocytes, such as phagocytosis and neutrophil extracellular trap-mediated killing.
Project description:This investigation examines the role of the SaeR/S 2-component system in USA300, a prominent circulating clone of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Using a saeR/S isogenic deletion mutant of USA300 (USA300DeltasaeR/S) in murine models of sepsis and soft-tissue infection revealed that this sensory system is critical to pathogenesis of USA300 during both superficial and invasive infection. Oligonucleotide microarray and real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction identified numerous extracellular virulence genes that are down-regulated in USA300DeltasaeR/S. Unexpectedly, an up-regulation of mecA and mecR1 corresponded to increased methicillin resistance in USA300DeltasaeR/S. 5'-RACE analysis defined transcript start sites for sbi, efb, mecA, lukS-PV, hlb, SAUSA300_1975, and hla, to underscore a conserved consensus sequence within promoter regions of genes under strong SaeR/S transcriptional regulation. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay experiments illustrated direct binding of SaeR(His) to promoter regions containing the conserved consensus sequence. Collectively, the findings of this investigation demonstrate that SaeR/S directly interacts with virulence gene promoters to significantly influence USA300 pathogenesis.
Project description:Mechanisms underlying the enhanced virulence phenotype of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) are incompletely defined, but presumably include evasion of killing by human polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs or neutrophils). To better understand this phenomenon, we investigated the basis of rapid PMN lysis after phagocytosis of USA300, a prominent CA-MRSA strain. Survival of USA300 clinical isolates after phagocytosis ultimately resulted in neutrophil lysis. PMNs containing ingested USA300 underwent morphological changes consistent with apoptosis, but lysed rapidly thereafter (within 6 h), whereas cells undergoing FAS-mediated apoptosis or phagocytosis-induced cell death remained intact. Phagosome membranes remained intact until the point of PMN destruction, suggesting lysis was not caused by escape of S. aureus from phagosomes or the cytolytic action of pore-forming toxins. Microarray analysis of the PMN transcriptome after phagocytosis of representative community-associated S. aureus and healthcare-associated MRSA strains revealed changes unique to community-associated S. aureus strains, such as upregulation of transcripts involved in regulation of calcium homeostasis. Collectively, the data suggest that neutrophil destruction after phagocytosis of USA300 is in part a form of programmed necrosis rather than direct lysis by S. aureus pore-forming toxins. We propose that the ability of CA-MRSA strains to induce programmed necrosis of neutrophils is a component of enhanced virulence.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a common Gram-positive bacteria that is a major cause of human morbidity and mortality. The SaeR/S two-component sensory system of S. aureus is important for virulence gene transcription and pathogenesis. However, the influence of SaeR phosphorylation on virulence gene transcription is not clear. To determine the importance of potential SaeR phosphorylation sites for S. aureus virulence, we generated genomic alanine substitutions at conserved aspartic acid residues in the receiver domain of the SaeR response regulator in clinically significant S. aureus pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) type USA300. Transcriptional analysis demonstrated a dramatic reduction in the transcript abundance of various toxins, adhesins, and immunomodulatory proteins for SaeR with an aspartic acid to alanine substitution at residue 51. These findings corresponded to a significant decrease in cytotoxicity against human erythrocytes and polymorphonuclear leukocytes, the ability to block human myeloperoxidase activity, and pathogenesis during murine soft-tissue infection. Analysis of SaeR sequences from over 8,000 draft S. aureus genomes revealed that aspartic acid residue 51 is 100% conserved. Collectively, these results demonstrate that aspartic acid residue 51 of SaeR is essential for S. aureus virulence and underscore a conserved target for novel antimicrobial strategies that treat infection caused by this pathogen.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is a predominant cause of fatal pneumonia following influenza A virus (IAV) infection. Herein we investigate the influence of antecedent IAV infection on S. aureus virulence gene expression. Using a murine model, comparing the USA300 and USA300ΔsaeR/S strains, we demonstrate that S. aureus pathogenesis following IAV infection is SaeR/S dependent. Furthermore, we show that IAV modulates the lung environment to rapidly up-regulate S. aureus virulence factors containing the SaeR-binding domain. Data demonstrate that the pathogen response to IAV infection impacts host outcome and provides evidence that the ability of S. aureus to sense and respond to the lung environment determines severity of pneumonia.
Project description:In tumor-bearing state, the function of neutrophils is converted from tumor-suppressing to tumor-promoting. Here we report that priming with IFN-? and TNF-? could convert the potential of neutrophils from tumor-promoting to tumor-suppressing. The neutrophils with protumor potential have not lost their responsiveness to IFN-? and TNF-?. After priming with IFN-? and TNF-?, the potential of the neutrophils to express Bv8 and Mmp9 genes was reduced. Conversely, the tumor-promotional neutrophils recovered the expression of Rab27a and Trail, resumed the activation levels of PI3K and p38 MAPK pathways in response to stimuli, and expressed higher levels of IL-18 and NK-activating ligands such as RAE-1, MULT-1, and H60. Therefore, the anti-tumor function of the neutrophils was augmented, including the cytotoxicity to tumor cells, the capability of degranulation, and the capacity to activate NK cells. Since the function of NK cells is impaired in tumor-bearing state, the administration of normal NK cells could significantly augment the efficiency of tumor therapy based on neutrophil priming. These findings highlight the reversibility of neutrophil function in tumor-bearing state, and suggest that neutrophil priming by IFN-?/TNF-? might be a potential approach to eliminate residual tumor cells in comprehensive strategy for tumor therapy.