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PLoS One. 2014 Jun 18;9(6):e100427. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100427. eCollection 2014.

Staphylococcus aureus in vitro secretion of alpha toxin (hla) correlates with the affiliation to clonal complexes.

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Alere Technologies GmbH, Jena, Germany; Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany.
Alere Technologies GmbH, Jena, Germany.
Alere San Diego, Inc., San Diego, California, United States of America.


The alpha toxin of Staphylococcus aureus is a pore forming toxin that penetrates host cell membranes causing osmotic swelling, rupture, lysis and subsequently cell death. Haemolysin alpha is toxic to a wide range of different mammalian cells; i.e., neurotoxic, dermonecrotic, haemolytic, and it can cause lethality in a wide variety of animals. In this study, the in vitro alpha toxin production of 648 previously genotyped isolates of S. aureus was measured quantitatively using antibody microarrays. Isolates originated from medical and veterinary settings and were selected in order to represent diverse clonal complexes and defined clinical conditions. Generally, the production of alpha toxin in vitro is related to the clonal complex affiliation. For clonal complexes CC22, CC30, CC45, CC479, CC705 and others, invariably no alpha toxin production was noted under the given in vitro conditions, while others, such as CC1, CC5, CC8, CC15 or CC96 secreted variable or high levels of alpha toxin. There was no correlation between alpha toxin yield and clinical course of the disease, or between alpha toxin yield and host species.

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