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PLoS One. 2013 May 3;8(5):e63513. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063513. Print 2013.

Secretome analysis defines the major role of SecDF in Staphylococcus aureus virulence.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


The Sec pathway plays a prominent role in protein export and membrane insertion, including the secretion of major bacterial virulence determinants. The accessory Sec constituent SecDF has been proposed to contribute to protein export. Deletion of Staphylococcus aureus secDF has previously been shown to reduce resistance, to alter cell separation, and to change the expression of certain virulence factors. To analyse the impact of the secDF deletion in S. aureus on protein secretion, a quantitative secretome analysis was performed. Numerous Sec signal containing proteins involved in virulence were found to be decreased in the supernatant of the secDF mutant. However, two Sec-dependent hydrolases were increased in comparison to the wild type, suggesting additional indirect, regulatory effects to occur upon deletion of secDF. Adhesion, invasion, and cytotoxicity of the secDF mutant were reduced in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Virulence was significantly reduced using a Galleria mellonella insect model. Altogether, SecDF is a promising therapeutic target for controlling S. aureus infections.

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