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Front Cell Infect Microbiol. 2012 May 4;2:56. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2012.00056. eCollection 2012.

Host- and microbe determinants that may influence the success of S. aureus colonization.

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Research Group of Host-Microbe Interaction, Department of Medical Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway.


Staphylococcus aureus may cause serious skin and soft tissue infections, deep abscesses, endocarditis, osteomyelitis, pneumonia, and sepsis. S. aureus persistently colonizes 25-30% of the adult human population, and S. aureus carriers have an increased risk for infections caused by the bacterium. The major site of colonization is the nose, i.e., the vestibulum nasi, which is covered with ordinary skin and hair follicles. Several host and microbe determinants are assumed to be associated with colonization. These include the presence and expression level of bacterial adhesins, which can adhere to various proteins in the extracellular matrix or on the cellular surface of human skin. The host expresses several antimicrobial peptides and lipids. The level of β-defensin 3, free sphingosine, and cis-6-hexadecenoic acid are found to be associated with nasal carriage of S. aureus. Other host factors are certain polymorphisms in Toll-like receptor 2, mannose-binding lectin, C-reactive protein, glucocorticoid-, and vitamin D receptor. Additional putative determinants for carriage include genetic variation and expression of microbial surface components recognizing adhesive matrix molecules and their interaction partners, as well as variation among humans in the ability of recognizing and responding appropriately to the bacteria. Moreover, the available microflora may influence the success of S. aureus colonization. In conclusion, colonization is a complex interplay between the bacteria and its host. Several bacterial and host factors are involved, and an increased molecular understanding of these are needed.


MSCRAMM; PAMP; PRR; Staphylococcus aureus; colonization; immune evasion; microflora

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