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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2006 May;258(2):290-6.

Clumping factor A of Staphylococcus aureus inhibits phagocytosis by human polymorphonuclear leucocytes.

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Moyne Institute of Preventive Medicine, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland.


Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of nosocomial and community-acquired infection. It expresses several factors that promote avoidance of phagocytosis by polymorphonuclear leucocytes. Clumping factor A (ClfA) is a fibrinogen-binding surface protein of S. aureus that is an important virulence factor in several infection models. This study investigated whether ClfA is an antiphagocytic factor, and whether its antiphagocytic properties were based on its ability to bind fibrinogen. In S. aureus, ClfA was shown to be of equal importance to protein A, the antiphagocytic properties of which are well established. ClfA expressed in a surrogate Gram-positive host was also found to be antiphagocytic. A ClfA mutant that was unable to bind fibrinogen had a similar antiphagocytic effect to native ClfA in the absence of fibrinogen. ClfA inhibited phagocytosis in the absence of fibrinogen, and showed enhanced inhibition in the presence of fibrinogen.

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