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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2012 Nov;66(2):220-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-695X.2012.01005.x. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

Prevalence of genes encoding extracellular proteases in Staphylococcus aureus - important targets triggering immune response in vivo.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Biotechnology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland.


Proteases of Staphylococcus aureus have long been considered to function as important virulence factors, although direct evidence of the role of particular enzymes remains incomplete and elusive. Here, we sought to provide a collective view of the prevalence of extracellular protease genes in genomes of commensal and pathogenic strains of S. aureus and their expression in the course of human and mouse infection. Data on V8 protease, staphopains A and B, aureolysin, and the recently described and poorly characterized group of six Spl proteases are provided. A phylogenetically diverse collection of 167 clinical isolates was analyzed, resulting in the comprehensive genetic survey of the prevalence of protease-encoding genes. No correlation between identified gene patterns with specific infections was established. Humoral response against the proteases of interest was examined in the sera derived from human patients and from a model mouse infection. The analysis suggests that at least some, if not all, tested proteases are expressed and secreted during the course of infection. Overall, the results presented in this study support the hypothesis that the secretory proteases as a group may contribute to the virulence of S. aureus.

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