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Toxins (Basel). 2010 Aug;2(8):2117-31. doi: 10.3390/toxins2082117. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

Multiple roles of Staphylococcus aureus enterotoxins: pathogenicity, superantigenic activity, and correlation to antibiotic resistance.

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  • 1Area de Microbiología, Departamento de Ciencias de la Salud, Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales, Universidad de Jaén, 23071-Jaén, Spain.


Heat-stable enterotoxins are the most notable virulence factors associated with Staphylococcus aureus, a common pathogen associated with serious community and hospital acquired diseases. Staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) cause toxic shock-like syndromes and have been implicated in food poisoning. But SEs also act as superantigens that stimulate T-cell proliferation, and a high correlation between these activities has been detected. Most of the nosocomial S. aureus infections are caused by methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strains, and those resistant to quinolones or multiresistant to other antibiotics are emerging, leaving a limited choice for their control. This review focuses on these diverse roles of SE, their possible correlations and the influence in disease progression and therapy.


enterotoxins; MRSA; Staphylococcus aureus; immune response; superantigens

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