1887

Abstract

Purpose. Staphylococcus aureus is an opportunistic human pathogen that can cause serious infections in humans. A plethora of known and putative virulence factors are produced by staphylococci that collectively orchestrate pathogenesis. Ear protein (Escherichia coli ampicillin resistance) in S. aureus is an exoprotein in COL strain, predicted to be a superantigen, and speculated to play roles in antibiotic resistance and virulence. The goal of this study was to determine if expression of ear is modulated by single nucleotide polymorphisms in its promoter and coding sequences and whether this gene plays roles in antibiotic resistance and virulence.

Methodology. Promoter, coding sequences and expression of the ear gene in clinical and carriage S. aureus strains with distinct genetic backgrounds were analysed. The JE2 strain and its isogenic ear mutant were used in a systemic infection mouse model to determine the competiveness of the ear mutant.

Results/Key findings. The ear gene showed a variable expression, with USA300FPR3757 showing a high-level expression compared to many of the other strains tested including some showing negligible expression. Higher expression was associated with agr type 1 but not correlated with phylogenetic relatedness of the ear gene based upon single nucleotide polymorphisms in the promoter or coding regions suggesting a complex regulation. An isogenic JE2 (USA300 background) ear mutant showed no significant difference in its growth, antibiotic susceptibility or virulence in a mouse model.

Conclusion. Our data suggests that despite being highly expressed in a USA300 genetic background, Ear is not a significant contributor to virulence in that strain.

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2017-11-03
2019-10-23
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