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Microbiology. 2003 Oct;149(Pt 10):2759-67.

The Staphylococcus aureus surface protein SasG and its homologues promote bacterial adherence to human desquamated nasal epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Moyne Institute of Preventive Medicine, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.


Staphylococcus aureus binds to human desquamated nasal epithelial cells, a phenomenon likely to be important in nasal colonization. ClfB was identified previously as one staphylococcal adhesin that promoted binding to nasal epithelia. In this study, it is shown that the S. aureus surface protein SasG, identified previously by in silico analysis of genome sequences, and two homologous proteins, Pls of S. aureus and AAP of Staphylococcus epidermidis, also promote bacterial adherence to nasal epithelial cells. Conditions for in vitro expression of SasG by S. aureus were not found. Adherence assays were therefore performed with S. aureus and Lactococcus lactis expressing SasG from an expression plasmid. These studies showed that SasG did not bind several ligands typically bound by S. aureus. Significantly, SasG and Pls did promote bacterial adherence to nasal epithelial cells. Furthermore, pre-incubation of epithelial cells with purified recombinant proteins revealed that the N-terminal A regions of SasG, Pls and AAP, but not the B repeats of SasG, inhibited adherence of L. lactis expressing SasG in a dose-dependent fashion. These results suggest that SasG, Pls and AAP bind to the same as-yet-unidentified receptor on the surface of nasal epithelial cells. In addition, expression of SasG, like Pls, reduced adherence of S. aureus to fibronectin and fibrinogen.

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