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Biochemistry. 2015 Aug 11;54(31):4855-62. doi: 10.1021/acs.biochem.5b00523. Epub 2015 Jul 28.

Novel Staphylococcus aureus Secreted Protein Alters Keratinocyte Proliferation and Elicits a Proinflammatory Response In Vitro and In Vivo.

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§University of Colorado, Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado 80045, United States.


Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of surgical site infections that results in increased hospital stays due to the development of chronic wounds. Little is known about factors involved in S. aureus' ability to prevent wounds from healing. We discovered a novel secreted protein produced by a surgical site isolate of S. aureus that prevents keratinocyte proliferation. The protein has a molecular weight of 15.7 kDa and an isoelectric point of 8.9. The cloned and purified protein has cytotoxic and proinflammatory properties, as shown in vitro and in vivo. Potent biological effects on keratinocytes and rabbit skin suggest that this protein may play an important role in preventing re-epithelialization. Its lack of homology to known exotoxins suggests that this protein is novel, and this observation is likely to open a new field of research in S. aureus exotoxins. Due to its cytotoxic activities, we call this new protein ε-cytotoxin.

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