Study of Staphylococcus aureus pathogenic genes by transfer and expression in the less virulent organism Streptococcus gordonii

Stutzmann Meier, P; Entenza, JM; Vaudaux, P; Francioli, P; Glauser, MP; Moreillon, P (2001). Study of Staphylococcus aureus pathogenic genes by transfer and expression in the less virulent organism Streptococcus gordonii. Infection and immunity, 69(2), pp. 657-64. New York, N.Y.: American Society for Microbiology 10.1128/IAI.69.2.657-664.2001

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Because Staphylococcus aureus strains contain multiple virulence factors, studying their pathogenic role by single-gene inactivation generated equivocal results. To circumvent this problem, we have expressed specific S. aureus genes in the less virulent organism Streptococcus gordonii and tested the recombinants for a gain of function both in vitro and in vivo. Clumping factor A (ClfA) and coagulase were investigated. Both gene products were expressed functionally and with similar kinetics during growth by streptococci and staphylococci. ClfA-positive S. gordonii was more adherent to platelet-fibrin clots mimicking cardiac vegetations in vitro and more infective in rats with experimental endocarditis (P < 0.05). Moreover, deleting clfA from clfA-positive streptococcal transformants restored both the low in vitro adherence and the low in vivo infectivity of the parent. Coagulase-positive transformants, on the other hand, were neither more adherent nor more infective than the parent. Furthermore, coagulase did not increase the pathogenicity of clfA-positive streptococci when both clfA and coa genes were simultaneously expressed in an artificial minioperon in streptococci. These results definitively attribute a role for ClfA, but not coagulase, in S. aureus endovascular infections. This gain-of-function strategy might help solve the role of individual factors in the complex the S. aureus-host relationship.

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Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases

UniBE Contributor:

Stutzmann, Patricia






American Society for Microbiology




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Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:56

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:16

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URI: (FactScience: 45321)

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