Disruption of neutrophil reactive oxygen species production by Staphylococcus aureus
Guerra, Fermin Ernesto
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Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterial pathogen that causes a wide range of human disease, from skin infections to invasive endocarditis. Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cell in the human body, and the first line of defense following S. aureus infection. Even though neutrophils are equipped with an arsenal of bactericidal mechanisms, S. aureus survives neutrophil encounter. The mechanisms used by S. aureus to survive neutrophil killing remain unresolved. Previous studies have shown that the S. aureus SaeR/S two-component gene regulatory system is essential to survive neutrophil killing. Herein, we tested the hypothesis that S. aureus uses SaeR/S-dependent mechanisms to reduce neutrophil bactericidal mechanisms. First, we determined that S. aureus uses genes under the regulation of SaeR/S to inhibit neutrophil reactive oxygen species (ROS) production independent of previously defined mechanisms. Subsequently, we helped characterize a novel S. aureus SaeR/S-regulated virulence factor that inhibits human myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity to prevent formation of the highly bactericidal agent hypochlorous acid. Thus, S. aureus SaeR/S-regulated factors disrupt the neutrophil bactericidal mechanism with most efficacy against it, which is killing by oxidative mechanisms. We then focused on the role of S. aureus SaeR/S-regulated secreted leukocidins on neutrophil ROS production. While S. aureus leukocidins show redundancy inducing neutrophil pore formation, we determined that the surface receptors engaged by leukocidins induce distinct signaling pathways leading to ROS production. We showed that specific kinases are required for the differential production of neutrophil ROS induced by the S. aureus leukocidins LukGH and Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL). Importantly, the signaling pathways induced by S. aureus leukocidins through neutrophil surface receptors differ from the signals induced by physiological ligands through the same surface receptors. These results suggest S. aureus leukocidins 'shortcircuit' neutrophil signals to induce aberrant ROS production. In conclusion, S. aureus SaeR/S-regulated factors prevent proper bacterial clearance by disrupting neutrophil ROS production. These data provide us with a better understanding of the specific mechanisms used by S. aureus to survive neutrophil killing leading to pathogenesis.