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Cell Microbiol. 2011 Feb;13(2):316-29. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2010.01538.x. Epub 2010 Nov 11.

Expression of δ-toxin by Staphylococcus aureus mediates escape from phago-endosomes of human epithelial and endothelial cells in the presence of β-toxin.

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FunGene-Competence Center for Functional Genomics, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt University, F.-L.-Jahnstrasse 15, Greifswald, Germany.


Staphylococcus aureus is able to invade non-professional phagocytes by interaction of staphylococcal adhesins with extracellular proteins of mammalian cells and eventually resides in acidified phago-endosomes. Some staphylococcal strains have been shown to subsequently escape from this compartment. A functional agr quorum-sensing system is needed for phagosomal escape. However, the nature of this agr dependency as well as the toxins involved in disruption of the phagosomal membrane are unknown. Using a novel technique to detect vesicular escape of S. aureus, we identified staphylococcal virulence factors involved in phagosomal escape. Here we show that a synergistic activity of the cytolytic peptide, staphylococcal δ-toxin and the sphingomyelinase β-toxin enable the phagosomal escape of staphylococci in human epithelial as well as in endothelial cells. The agr dependency of this process can be directly explained by the location of the structural gene for δ-toxin within the agr effector RNAIII.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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