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Mol Microbiol. 1990 Mar;4(3):393-404.

The coagulase of Staphylococcus aureus 8325-4. Sequence analysis and virulence of site-specific coagulase-deficient mutants.

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Department of Microbiology, Moyne Institute, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.


The sequence of the coagulase gene (coa) from Staphylococcus aureus strain 8325-4 is reported. The deduced amino acid sequence of the coagulase protein is compared with previously reported sequences of coagulases from strains 213 and BB. The secreted mature forms of coagulase proteins are composed of three distinct segments: (i) the N-terminal 150-270 residues, which are c. 50% identical, (ii) a central region with high (greater than 90%) residue identities, and (iii) a C-terminal region composed of repeated 27-amino-acid residue sequences. The variable N-terminal sequences are probably responsible for antigenic differences among coagulases of different serotype. The region of coagulase which binds to prothrombin and activates it to form staphylothrombin is also located in the N-terminal half of the protein. A site-specific substitution mutation in the coa gene, which abolished plasma clotting activity, was isolated by recombinational allele-replacement in strains 8325-4 and M60. The Coa- mutants did not show diminished virulence in subcutaneous and intramammary infections of mice. No evidence for a role for coagulase in virulence of toxigenic or nontoxigenic strains was obtained. This contradicts findings of several groups using Coa- mutants generated by chemical mutagenesis and suggests that the earlier results were obtained with strains that had suffered additional mutations in virulence-related genes.

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