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Mol Microbiol. 2006 Nov;62(4):1035-47.

Prophages of Staphylococcus aureus Newman and their contribution to virulence.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


Four prophages (phiNM1-4) were identified in the genome of Staphylococcus aureus Newman, a human clinical isolate. phiNM1, phiNM2 and phiNM4, members of the siphoviridae family, insert at different sites (poiA, downstream of isdB and geh) in the staphylococcal chromosome. phiNM3, a beta-haemolysin (hlb) converting phage, encodes modulators of innate immune responses (sea, sak, chp and scn) in addition to other virulence genes. Replication of phiNM1, phiNM2 and phiNM4 occurs in culture and during animal infection, whereas phiNM3 prophage replication was not observed. Prophages were excised from the chromosome and S. aureus variants lacking phiNM3 or phiNM1, phiNM2 and phiNM4 displayed organ specific virulence defects in a murine model of abscess formation. S. aureus Newman lacking all four prophages was unable to cause disease, thereby revealing essential contributions of prophages to the pathogenesis of staphylococcal infections.

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