Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Exp Med. 2005 Jul 18;202(2):209-15. Epub 2005 Jul 11.

Staphylococcus aureus golden pigment impairs neutrophil killing and promotes virulence through its antioxidant activity.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Golden color imparted by carotenoid pigments is the eponymous feature of the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. Here we demonstrate a role of this hallmark phenotype in virulence. Compared with the wild-type (WT) bacterium, a S. aureus mutant with disrupted carotenoid biosynthesis is more susceptible to oxidant killing, has impaired neutrophil survival, and is less pathogenic in a mouse subcutaneous abscess model. The survival advantage of WT S. aureus over the carotenoid-deficient mutant is lost upon inhibition of neutrophil oxidative burst or in human or murine nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase-deficient hosts. Conversely, heterologous expression of the S. aureus carotenoid in the nonpigmented Streptococcus pyogenes confers enhanced oxidant and neutrophil resistance and increased animal virulence. Blocking S. aureus carotenogenesis increases oxidant sensitivity and decreases whole-blood survival, suggesting a novel target for antibiotic therapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk