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J Med Microbiol. 2012 Apr;61(Pt 4):463-9. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.033001-0. Epub 2011 Nov 24.

A Brazilian lineage of Staphylococcus lugdunensis presenting rough colony morphology may adhere to and invade lung epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology, Rio de Janeiro Federal University, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Staphylococcus lugdunensis is an unusually virulent coagulase-negative species, which causes serious infection similar to S. aureus. We evaluated the expression of virulence factors such as S. lugdunensis synergistic haemolysin (SLUSH), fibrinogen-binding protein (Fbl), biofilm production and biofilm-production-related genes in 23 S. lugdunensis clinical isolates and one type strain that had been previously characterized for their genotypes. In addition, the biofilm composition and the ability of isolates to adhere to and invade human epithelial lung cells were also investigated. The PCR method used detected the presence of slush and intercellular adhesin (ica) virulence genes in all isolates. All isolates produced the Fbl protein and, with the exception of the type strain, all isolates produced the SLUSH haemolysin. Fourteen (60.9ā€Š%) isolates produced biofilms. The detachment assay, using sodium metaperiodate or proteolytic enzymes to analyse the biofilm composition, showed protein-mediated biofilms in two representative isolates, one for each colony type (rough and smooth). All strongly biofilm-producing isolates, including three with rough colony morphology, had the same prevalent PFGE pattern. However, among the representative strains tested, only the S. lugdunensis isolate that formed rough colonies was able to adhere to and invade A549 cell monolayers in the same quantities as those observed with S. aureus isolates (Pā€Š=ā€Š1.000). No significant adhesion or invasion was observed for the other isolates in comparison with the S. aureus isolate, independent of biofilm production or clonality. Our results could explain the incredible ability of this pathogen to cause infections that are as aggressive as S. aureus. In addition, the ability of S. lugdunensis to adhere to and invade eukaryotic cells was also noticed for isolates with rough colony morphology, reinforcing the increased virulence in this species.

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