A Functional ClpXP Protease is Required for Induction of the Accessory Toxin Genes, tst, sed, and sec.
ABSTRACT: Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome is a potentially lethal illness attributed to superantigens produced by Staphylococcus aureus, in particular toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1), but staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) are also implicated. The genes encoding these important toxins are carried on mobile genetic elements, and the regulatory networks controlling expression of these toxins remain relatively unexplored. We show here that the highly conserved ClpXP protease stimulates transcription of tst (TSST-1), sec (SEC), and sed (SED) genes in the prototypical strains, SA564 and RN4282. In the wild-type cells, the post-exponential upregulation of toxin gene transcription was proposed to occur via RNAIII-mediated downregulation of the Rot repressor. Contradictive to this model, we showed that the post-exponential induction of tst, sed, and sec transcription did not occur in cells devoid of ClpXP activity, despite the Rot level being diminished. To identify transcriptional regulators with a changed expression in cells devoid of ClpXP activity, RNA sequencing was performed. The RNAseq analysis revealed a number of global virulence regulators that might act downstream of ClpXP, to control expression of tst and other virulence genes. Collectively, the results extend our understanding of the complex transcriptional regulation of the tst, sed, and sec genes.
Project description:Previous studies have demonstrated that a proportion of Staphylococcus aureus isolates from bovine mastitis coproduce toxic shock syndrome toxin (TSST) and staphylococcal enterotoxin C (SEC). In this study, molecular genetic analysis of one such strain, RF122, revealed the presence of a 15,891-bp putative pathogenicity island (SaPIbov) encoding the genes for TSST (tst), the SEC bovine variant (sec-bovine), and a gene (sel) which encodes an enterotoxin-like protein. The island contains 21 open reading frames specifying hypothetical proteins longer than 60 amino acids including an integrase-like gene. The element is bordered by 74-bp direct repeats at the left and right junctions, and the integration site lies adjacent to the 3' end of the GMP synthase gene (gmps) in the S. aureus chromosome. SaPIbov contains a central region of sequence identity with the previously characterized tst pathogenicity island SaPI1 (J. A. Lindsay et al., Mol. Microbiol. 29:527-543, 1998). A closely related strain, RF120, of the same multilocus enzyme electrophoretic type, random amplified polymorphic DNA type, and ribotype, does not contain the island, implying that the element is mobile and that a recent insertion/deletion event has taken place. TSST and TSST/SEC-deficient mutants of S. aureus strain RF122 were constructed by allele replacement. In vitro bovine Vbeta-specific lymphocyte expansion analysis by culture supernatants of wild-type strains and of tst and sec-bovine allele replacement mutants revealed that TSST stimulates BTB13-specific T cells whereas SEC-bovine stimulates BTB93-specific T cells. This suggests that the presence of SaPIbov may contribute to modulation of the bovine immune response.
Project description:Ingestion of staphylococcal enterotoxins preformed by Staphylococcus aureus in food leads to staphylococcal food poisoning, the most prevalent foodborne intoxication worldwide. There are five major staphylococcal enterotoxins: SEA, SEB, SEC, SED, and SEE. While variants of these toxins have been described and were linked to specific hosts or levels or enterotoxin production, data on sequence variation is still limited. In this study, we aim to extend the knowledge on promoter and gene variants of the major enterotoxins SEB, SEC, and SED. To this end, we determined seb, sec, and sed promoter and gene sequences of a well-characterized set of enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus strains originating from foodborne outbreaks, human infections, human nasal colonization, rabbits, and cattle. New nucleotide sequence variants were detected for all three enterotoxins and a novel amino acid sequence variant of SED was detected in a strain associated with human nasal colonization. While the seb promoter and gene sequences exhibited a high degree of variability, the sec and sed promoter and gene were more conserved. Interestingly, a truncated variant of sed was detected in all tested sed harboring rabbit strains. The generated data represents a further step towards improved understanding of strain-specific differences in enterotoxin expression and host-specific variation in enterotoxin sequences.
Project description:Although coagulase-positive staphylococci are considered to be the main factor responsible for food poisoning, an increasing role for the coagulase-negative staphylococci in the production of enterotoxins has been observed in recent years. This study was conducted to assess the occurrence of genes responsible for the production of staphylococcal enterotoxins (SE), enterotoxin-like toxins (SEI) and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) in coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) isolated from ready-to-eat food from bars and restaurants. One hundred and eighteen CoNS strains were tested using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to five superantigenic toxin genes, including five different types of classical enterotoxins (sea, seb, sec, sed and see) and the toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (tsst-1) as well as to supertoxin-like genes. PCR-positive isolates were then tested using immunoenzymatic methods (SET-RPLA, Vidas SET 2) for toxin expression. Out of 118 CoNS strains, the presence of staphylococcal enterotoxins was confirmed in 72% of them. The most frequently found enterotoxin-like genotype was ser, selu. Two of the tested strains had up to ten different enterotoxin genes in the genome at the same time. Although no production of enterotoxins was detected in the CoNS, which means that their possible role in the epidemiology of food-borne diseases is minimal, the data demonstrated that the toxigenic capacity of the CoNS should not be ignored, and that this group of microorganisms should be continuously monitored in food.
Project description:Staphylococcal food poisoning, one of the most common food-borne diseases, results from ingestion of one or more staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) produced by Staphylococcus aureus in foods. In the present study, 64 S. aureus isolates recovered from foods and food handlers, associated or not associated with food-poisoning outbreaks in Spain, were investigated. They were assigned to 31 strains by spa typing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), exotoxin gene content, and antimicrobial resistance. The strains belonged to 10 clonal complexes (CCs): CC5 (29.0%), CC30 (25.8%), CC45 (16.1%), CC8, CC15 (two strains each), CC1, CC22, CC25, CC59, and CC121 (one strain each). They contained hemolysin genes (90.3%); lukED (77.4%); exfoliatin genes eta, etd (6.5% each), and etb (3.2%); tst (25.8%); and the following enterotoxin or enterotoxin-like genes or clusters: sea (38.7%), seb (12.9%), sec (16.1%), sed-selj with or without ser (22.9%), selk-selq (6.5%), seh, sell, selp (9.7% each), egc1 (32.3%), and egc2 (48.4%). The number of se and sel genes ranged from zero to 12. All isolates carrying tst, and most isolates with genes encoding classical enterotoxins (SEA, SEB, SEC, and SED), expressed the corresponding toxin(s). Two CC5 isolates from hamburgers (spa type t002, sequence type 5 [ST5]; spa type t2173, ST5) were methicillin resistant and harbored staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) IVd. Six (19.4%) were mupirocin resistant, and one (spa type t120, ST15) from a food handler carried mupA (MIC, 1,250 ?g/ml). Resistance to ampicillin (blaZ) (61.3%), erythromycin (ermA-ermC or ermC) (25.8%), clindamycin (msrA-msrB or msrB) (16.1%), tetracycline (tetK) (3.2%), and amikacin-gentamicin-kanamycin-tobramycin (aphA with aacA plus aphD or aadD) (6.5%) was also observed. The presence of S. aureus strains with an important repertoire of virulence and resistance determinants in the food chain represents a potential health hazard for consumers and merits further observation.
Project description:Staphylococcus aureus is an important pathogen manifesting virulence through diverse disease forms, ranging from acute skin infections to life-threatening bacteremia or systemic toxic shock syndromes. In the latter case, the prototypical superantigen is TSST-1 (Toxic Shock Syndrome Toxin 1), encoded by tst(H), and carried on a mobile genetic element that is not present in all S. aureus strains. Transcriptional regulation of tst is only partially understood. In this study, we dissected the role of sarA, sarS (sarH1), RNAIII, rot, and the alternative stress sigma factor sigB (?B). By examining tst promoter regulation predominantly in the context of its native sequence within the SaPI1 pathogenicity island of strain RN4282, we discovered that ?B emerged as a particularly important tst regulator. We did not detect a consensus ?B site within the tst promoter, and thus the effect of ?B is likely indirect. We found that ?B strongly repressed the expression of the toxin via at least two distinct regulatory pathways dependent upon sarA and agr. Furthermore rot, a member of SarA family, was shown to repress tst expression when overexpressed, although its deletion had no consistent measurable effect. We could not find any detectable effect of sarS, either by deletion or overexpression, suggesting that this regulator plays a minimal role in TSST-1 expression except when combined with disruption of sarA. Collectively, our results extend our understanding of complex multifactorial regulation of tst, revealing several layers of negative regulation. In addition to environmental stimuli thought to impact TSST-1 production, these findings support a model whereby sporadic mutation in a few key negative regulators can profoundly affect and enhance TSST-1 expression.
Project description:The aim of this study was to characterize the subtypes and virulence profiles of 69 Staphylococcus aureus isolates obtained from retail ready-to-eat food in China. The isolates were analyzed using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis of important virulence factor genes, including the staphylococcal enterotoxin (SE) genes (sea, seb, sec, sed, see, seg, seh, sei, sej), the exfoliative toxin genes (eta and etb), the toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 gene (tst), and the Panton-Valentine leucocidin-encoding gene (pvl). The isolates encompassed 26 different sequence types (STs), including four new STs (ST3482, ST3484, ST3485, ST3504), clustered in three clonal complexes and 17 singletons. The most prevalent STs were ST1, ST6, and ST15, constituting 34.8% of all isolates. Most STs (15/26, 57.7%) detected have previously been associated with human infections. All 13 toxin genes examined were detected in the S. aureus isolates, with 84.1% of isolates containing toxin genes. The three most prevalent toxin genes were seb (36.2%), sea (33.3%), and seg (33.3%). The classical SE genes (sea-see), which contribute significantly to staphylococcal food poisoning (SFP), were detected in 72.5% of the S. aureus isolates. In addition, pvl, eta, etb, and tst were found in 11.6, 10.1, 10.1, and 7.2% of the S. aureus isolates, respectively. Strains ST6 carrying sea and ST1 harboring sec-seh enterotoxin profile, which are the two most common clones associated with SFP, were also frequently detected in the food samples in this study. This study indicates that these S. aureus isolates present in Chinese ready-to-eat food represents a potential public health risk. These data are valuable for epidemiological studies, risk management, and public health strategies.
Project description:IgG4 responses are considered indicative for long-term or repeated exposure to particular antigens. Therefore, studying IgG4-specific antibody responses against Staphylococcus aureus might generate new insights into the respective host-pathogen interactions and the microbial virulence factors involved. Using a bead-based flow cytometry assay, we determined total IgG (IgGt), IgG1, and IgG4 antibody responses to 40 different S. aureus virulence factors in sera from healthy persistent nasal carriers, healthy persistent noncarriers, and patients with various staphylococcal infections from three distinct countries. IgGt responses were detected against all tested antigens. These were mostly IgG1 responses. In contrast, IgG4 antibodies were detected to alpha-toxin, chemotaxis inhibitory protein of S. aureus (CHIPS), exfoliative toxins A and B (ETA and -B), HlgB, IsdA, LukD, -E, -F, and -S, staphylococcal complement inhibitor (SCIN), staphylococcal enterotoxin C (SEC), staphylococcal superantigen-like proteins 1, 3, 5, and 9 (SSL1, -3, -5, and -9), and toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1) only. Large interpatient variability was observed, and the type of infection or geographical location did not reveal conserved patterns of response. As persistent S. aureus carriers trended toward IgG4 responses to a larger number of antigens than persistent noncarriers, we also investigated sera from patients with epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a genetic blistering disease associated with high S. aureus carriage rates. EB patients responded immunologically to significantly more antigens than noncarriers and trended toward even more responses than carriers. Altogether, we conclude that the IgG4 responses against a restricted panel of staphylococcal antigens consisting primarily of immune modulators and particular toxins indicate important roles for these virulence factors in staphylococcal pathogen-host interactions, such as chronicity of colonization and/or (subclinical) infections.
Project description:Mucosal and skin tissues form barriers to infection by most bacterial pathogens. Staphylococcus aureus causes diseases across these barriers in part dependent on the proinflammatory properties of superantigens. We showed, through use of a CRISPR-Cas9 CD40 knockout, that the superantigens toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1) and staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) B and C stimulated chemokine production from human vaginal epithelial cells (HVECs) through human CD40. This response was enhanced by addition of antibodies against CD40 through an unknown mechanism. TSST-1 was better able to stimulate chemokine (IL-8 and MIP-3?) production by HVECs than SEB and SEC, suggesting this is the reason for TSST-1's exclusive association with menstrual TSS. A mutant of TSST-1, K121A, caused TSS in a rabbit model when administered vaginally but not intravenously, emphasizing the importance of the local vaginal environment. Collectively, our data suggested that superantigens facilitate infections by disruption of mucosal barriers through their binding to CD40, with subsequent expression of chemokines. The chemokines facilitate TSS and possibly other epithelial conditions after attraction of the adaptive immune system to the local environment.IMPORTANCE Menstrual toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a serious infectious disease associated with vaginal colonization by Staphylococcus aureus producing the exotoxin TSS toxin 1 (TSST-1). We show that menstrual TSS occurs after TSST-1 interaction with an immune costimulatory molecule called CD40 on the surface of vaginal epithelial cells. Other related toxins, where the entire family is called the superantigen family, bind to CD40, but not with a high-enough apparent affinity to cause TSS; thus, TSST-1 is the only exotoxin superantigen associated. Once the epithelial cells become activated by TSST-1, they produce soluble molecules referred to as chemokines, which in turn facilitate TSST-1 activation of T lymphocytes and macrophages to cause the symptoms of TSS. Identification of small-molecule inhibitors of the interaction of TSST-1 with CD40 may be useful so that they may serve as additives to medical devices, such as tampons and menstrual cups, to reduce the incidence of menstrual TSS.
Project description:Staphylococcal enterotoxins are exotoxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus that possess emetic and superantigenic properties. Prior to this research there were six characterized enterotoxins, staphylococcal enterotoxin types A to E and H (referred to as SEA to SEE and SEH). Two new staphylococcal enterotoxin genes have been identified and designated seg and sei (staphylococcal enterotoxin types G and I, respectively). seg and sei consist of 777 and 729 nucleotides, respectively, encoding precursor proteins of 258 (SEG) and 242 (SEI) deduced amino acids. SEG and SEI have typical bacterial signal sequences that are cleaved to form toxins with 233 (SEG) and 218 (SEI, predicted) amino acids, corresponding to mature proteins of 27,043 Da (SEG) and 24,928 Da (SEI). Biological activities for SEG and SEI were determined with recombinant S. aureus strains. SEG and SEI elicited emetic responses in rhesus monkeys upon nasogastric administration and stimulated murine T-cell proliferation with the concomitant production of interleukin 2 (IL-2) and gamma interferon (IFN-gamma), as measured by cytokine enzyme-linked immunoassays. SEG and SEI are related to other enterotoxins of S. aureus and to streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxin A (SpeA) and streptococcal superantigen (SSA) of Streptococcus pyogenes. Phylogenetic analysis and comparisons of amino acid and nucleotide sequence identities were performed on related staphylococcal and streptococcal protein toxins to group SEG and SEI among the characterized toxins. SEG is most similar to SpeA, SEB, SEC, and SSA (38 to 42% amino acid identity), while SEI is most similar to SEA, SEE, and SED (26 to 28% amino acid identity). Polyclonal antiserum was generated against purified histidine-tagged SEG and SEI (HisSEG and HisSEI). Immunoblot analysis of the enterotoxins, toxic-shock syndrome toxin 1, and SpeA with antiserum prepared against HisSEG and HisSEI revealed that SEG shares some epitopes with SEC1 while SEI does not.
Project description:Staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome (TSS) was originally described in menstruating women and linked to TSS toxin 1 (TSST-1)-producing Staphylococcus aureus. Using UK national surveillance data, we ascertained clinical, molecular and superantigenic characteristics of TSS cases. Average annual TSS incidence was 0.07/100,000 population. Patients with nonmenstrual TSS were younger than those with menstrual TSS but had the same mortality rate. Children <16 years of age accounted for 39% of TSS cases, most caused by burns and skin and soft tissue infections. Nonmenstrual TSS is now more common than menstrual TSS in the UK, although both types are strongly associated with the tst+ clonal complex (CC) 30 methicillin-sensitive S. aureus lineage, which accounted for 49.4% of all TSS and produced more TSST-1 and superantigen bioactivity than did tst+ CC30 methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains. Better understanding of this MSSA lineage and infections in children could focus interventions to prevent TSS in the future.