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Infect Immun. 2009 Jun;77(6):2408-16. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01304-08. Epub 2009 Mar 23.

Iron-regulated surface determinant protein A mediates adhesion of Staphylococcus aureus to human corneocyte envelope proteins.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of Sheffield, Firth Court, Western Bank, Sheffield, United Kingdom.


The ability of Staphylococcus aureus to colonize the human nares is a crucial prerequisite for disease. IsdA is a major S. aureus surface protein that is expressed during human infection and required for nasal colonization and survival on human skin. In this work, we show that IsdA binds to involucrin, loricrin, and cytokeratin K10, proteins that are present in the cornified envelope of human desquamated epithelial cells. To measure the forces and dynamics of the interaction between IsdA and loricrin (the most abundant protein of the cornified envelope), single-molecule force spectroscopy was used, demonstrating high-specificity binding. IsdA acts as a cellular adhesin to the human ligands, promoting whole-cell binding to immobilized proteins, even in the absence of other S. aureus components (as shown by heterologous expression in Lactococcus lactis). Inhibition experiments revealed the binding of the human ligands to the same IsdA region. This region was mapped to the NEAT domain of IsdA. The NEAT domain also was found to be required for S. aureus whole-cell binding to the ligands as well as to human nasal cells. Thus, IsdA is an important adhesin to human ligands, which predominate in its primary ecological niche.

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