Cytolytic toxin production by Staphylococcus aureus is dependent upon the activity of the protoheme IX farnesyltransferase

Emily Stevens, Ruth Massey, Maisem Laabei, Stewart Gardner, Greg Somerville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
272 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus is a medically important pathogen with an abundance of virulence factors that are necessary for survival within a host, including the production of cytolytic toxins. The regulation of toxin production is mediated by the Agr quorum sensing system, and a poorly defned post-exponential growth phase signal independent of Agr. As part of a recent genome wide association study (GWAS) to identify novel loci that alter the expression of cytolytic toxins, a polymorphism in the cyoE gene, which encodes a protoheme IX farnesyltransferase, was identifed. This enzyme is essential for processing heme into the electron transport chain for use as an electron acceptor. Interestingly, without this enzyme S. aureus were repressed in their ability to secrete cytolytic toxins, and this appears to be mediated through repression of the Agr quorum sensing system. We hypothesize that the loss of electron transport is inducing feedback inhibition of metabolic capabilities that suppress the TCA cycle, and that this coupled with decreased RNAIII transcription prevents synthesis of cytolytic toxins.
Original languageEnglish
Article number13744
Number of pages7
JournalScientific Reports
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2017

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