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PLoS One. 2013 May 14;8(5):e63176. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063176. Print 2013.

PSMs of hypervirulent Staphylococcus aureus act as intracellular toxins that kill infected osteoblasts.

Author information

1
Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) U1111, University of Lyon, Lyon, France.

Abstract

Epidemic community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) is associated with more severe and acute forms of osteomyelitis than healthcare-associated (HA-) MRSA. Although S. aureus is now recognized as a facultative intracellular pathogen, the contribution of osteoblast invasion by CA-MRSA to the pathogenesis of osteomyelitis is unknown. Using an ex vivo model of intracellular infection of human osteoblasts, we demonstrated that CA-MRSA strains of diverse lineages share an enhanced ability to kill infected osteoblasts compared to HA-MRSA. Cytotoxicity comparisons of CA-MRSA isogenic deletion mutants revealed that phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs), a class of membrane-damaging exoproteins that are expressed at higher levels in CA-MRSA than in HA-MRSA, are involved in this osteoblast killing, whereas other major CA-MRSA virulence determinants, the Panton-Valentine leukocidin and alpha-toxin, are not involved. Similarly, functional agr and sarA regulators, which control the expression of PSMs and alpha-toxin, were required for the expression of the intracellular cytotoxic phenotype by CA-MRSA, whereas the saeRS regulator, which controls the expression of alpha-toxin but not PSMs, had no impact on cytotoxicity. Finally, PSM transcript levels determined by quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR were significantly higher in CA-MRSA than in HA-MRSA strains and associated with cell damage in MRSA-infected osteoblasts. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of severe CA-MRSA osteomyelitis and unravel a novel virulence strategy of CA-MRSA, based on the invasion and subsequent killing of osteoblasts by PSMs acting as intracellular toxins.

PMID:
23690994
PMCID:
PMC3653922
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0063176
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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