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Concept: Staphylococcus


The emergence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that can persist in the community and replace existing hospital-adapted lineages of MRSA means that it is necessary to understand transmission dynamics in terms of hospitals and the community as one entity. We assessed the use of whole-genome sequencing to enhance detection of MRSA transmission between these settings.

Concepts: Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcaceae


BACKGROUND: Despite advances in antimicrobial and surgical therapy, septic arthritis remains a rheumatologic emergency that can lead to rapid joint destruction and irreversible loss of function. In adults, Staphylococcus aureus is the most common microorganism isolated from native joints. Streptococcus gordonii is a prominent member of the viridans group of oral bacteria and is among the bacteria most frequently identified as being primary agent of subacute bacterial endocarditis. To the best of our knowledge, Streptococcus gordonii has not yet been described as agent of septic arthritis.Case PresentationWe describe here two cases of septic arthritis due to Streptococcus gordonii. It gives us an opportunity to review epidemiology, diagnosis criteria and management of septic arthritis. CONCLUSION: Although implication of S. gordonii as aetiologic agent of subacute endocarditis is well known, this organism is a rare cause of septic arthritis. In this case, the exclusion of associated endocarditis is warranted.

Concepts: DNA, Bacteria, Organism, Microbiology, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, Microorganism, Septic arthritis


Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of healthcare associated mortality, but like many important bacterial pathogens, it is a common constituent of the normal human body flora. Around a third of healthy adults are carriers. Recent evidence suggests that evolution of S. aureus during nasal carriage may be associated with progression to invasive disease. However, a more detailed understanding of within-host evolution under natural conditions is required to appreciate the evolutionary and mechanistic reasons why commensal bacteria such as S. aureus cause disease. Therefore we examined in detail the evolutionary dynamics of normal, asymptomatic carriage. Sequencing a total of 131 genomes across 13 singly colonized hosts using the Illumina platform, we investigated diversity, selection, population dynamics and transmission during the short-term evolution of S. aureus.

Concepts: Natural selection, Bacteria, Evolution, Staphylococcus aureus, Ecology, Antibiotic resistance, Staphylococcus, Symbiosis


Mechanisms of protective immunity to Staphylococcus aureus infection in humans remain elusive. While the importance of cellular immunity has been shown in mice, T cell responses in humans have not been characterised. Using a murine model of recurrent S. aureus peritonitis, we demonstrated that prior exposure to S. aureus enhanced IFNγ responses upon subsequent infection, while adoptive transfer of S. aureus antigen-specific Th1 cells was protective in naïve mice. Translating these findings, we found that S. aureus antigen-specific Th1 cells were also significantly expanded during human S. aureus bloodstream infection (BSI). These Th1 cells were CD45RO+, indicative of a memory phenotype. Thus, exposure to S. aureus induces memory Th1 cells in mice and humans, identifying Th1 cells as potential S. aureus vaccine targets. Consequently, we developed a model vaccine comprising staphylococcal clumping factor A, which we demonstrate to be an effective human T cell antigen, combined with the Th1-driving adjuvant CpG. This novel Th1-inducing vaccine conferred significant protection during S. aureus infection in mice. This study notably advances our understanding of S. aureus cellular immunity, and demonstrates for the first time that a correlate of S. aureus protective immunity identified in mice may be relevant in humans.

Concepts: Immune system, Gene, Human, Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, Coagulase, Staphylococcaceae


The aim of this study was to seek additional data on the antimicrobial susceptibility of Staphylococcus spp. after habituation to low levels of the topical antimicrobial agent tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil. Meticillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), meticillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) were habituated to 0.075% tea tree oil for 3 days. Subsequently, the susceptibility of five isolates each of MSSA, MRSA and CoNS to fusidic acid, mupirocin, chloramphenicol, linezolid and vancomycin was determined by Etest, and susceptibility to tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol, carvacrol and triclosan was determined by agar dilution. Following habituation to 0.075% tea tree oil, antimicrobial MICs differed between control and habituated isolates on 33 occasions (out of a possible 150), with MICs being higher in habituated isolates on 22 occasions. Using clinical breakpoint criteria, one MSSA isolate changed susceptibility category from vancomycin-susceptible (MIC=2μg/mL) to intermediate susceptibility (MIC=3μg/mL) after habituation in one of two replicates. For the non-antibiotic antimicrobial agents, MICs of habituated and control isolates differed on 12 occasions (out of a possible 120); 10 occasions in MRSA and 2 occasions in MSSA. MICs were higher for habituated isolates on five occasions. However, all the differences were one serial dilution only and were not regarded as significant. Habituation to sublethal concentrations of tea tree oil led to minor changes in MICs of antimicrobial agents, only one of which may have been clinically relevant. There is no evidence to suggest that tea tree oil induces resistance to antimicrobial agents.

Concepts: Microbiology, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin, Antimicrobial, Tea tree oil


The incidence of neonatal late-onset sepsis (LOS) is inversely related to the degree of maturity and varies geographically from 0.61% to 14.2% among hospitalised newborns. Epidemiological data on very low birth weight infants shows that the predominant pathogens of neonatal LOS are coagulase-negative staphylococci, followed by Gram-negative bacilli and fungi. Due to the difficulties in a prompt diagnosis of LOS and LOS-associated high risk of mortality and long-term neurodevelopmental sequelae, empirical antibiotic treatment is initiated on suspicion of LOS. However, empirical therapy is often inappropriately used with unnecessary broad-spectrum antibiotics and a prolonged duration of treatment. The increasing number of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative micro-organisms in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) worldwide is a serious concern, which requires thorough and efficient surveillance strategies and appropriate treatment regimens. Immunological strategies for preventing neonatal LOS are not supported by current evidence, and approaches, such as a strict hygiene protocol and the minimisation of invasive procedures in NICUs represent the cornerstone to reduce the burden of neonatal LOS.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Bacteria, Microbiology, Staphylococcus, Intensive care medicine, Pediatrics, Antibiotic, Chloramphenicol


Currently, bacterial 16S rRNA gene analyses are based on sequencing of individual variable regions of the 16S rRNA gene (Kozich, et al Appl Environ Microbiol 79:5112-5120, 2013).This short read approach can introduce biases. Thus, full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing is needed to reduced biases. A new alternative for full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene sequencing is offered by PacBio single molecule, real-time (SMRT) technology. The aim of our study was to validate PacBio P6 sequencing chemistry using three approaches: 1) sequencing the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene from a single bacterial species Staphylococcus aureus to analyze error modes and to optimize the bioinformatics pipeline; 2) sequencing the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA gene from a pool of 50 different bacterial colonies from human stool samples to compare with full-length bacterial 16S rRNA capillary sequence; and 3) sequencing the full-length bacterial 16S rRNA genes from 11 vaginal microbiome samples and compare with in silico selected bacterial 16S rRNA V1V2 gene region and with bacterial 16S rRNA V1V2 gene regions sequenced using the Illumina MiSeq.

Concepts: DNA, Archaea, Bacteria, Molecular biology, Ribosomal RNA, Staphylococcus, 16S ribosomal RNA, Sequence


The purpose of the current work was to study the pattern and dynamics of biofilm formation in clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis in the presence of 10 antibiotics with different action mechanisms.

Concepts: Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, Biofilm, Design, The Current, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcaceae


The vast majority of systemic bacterial infections are caused by facultative, often antibiotic-resistant, pathogens colonizing human body surfaces. Nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus predisposes to invasive infection, but the mechanisms that permit or interfere with pathogen colonization are largely unknown. Whereas soil microbes are known to compete by production of antibiotics, such processes have rarely been reported for human microbiota. We show that nasal Staphylococcus lugdunensis strains produce lugdunin, a novel thiazolidine-containing cyclic peptide antibiotic that prohibits colonization by S. aureus, and a rare example of a non-ribosomally synthesized bioactive compound from human-associated bacteria. Lugdunin is bactericidal against major pathogens, effective in animal models, and not prone to causing development of resistance in S. aureus. Notably, human nasal colonization by S. lugdunensis was associated with a significantly reduced S. aureus carriage rate, suggesting that lugdunin or lugdunin-producing commensal bacteria could be valuable for preventing staphylococcal infections. Moreover, human microbiota should be considered as a source for new antibiotics.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gut flora, Microbiology, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Staphylococcus, Staphylococcaceae, Staphylococcus lugdunensis


The alarming increase of pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to multiple antibiotics is now recognized as a major health issue fuelling demand for new drugs. Bacterial resistance is often caused by molecular changes at the bacterial surface, which alter the nature of specific drug-target interactions. Here, we identify a novel mechanism by which drug-target interactions in resistant bacteria can be enhanced. We examined the surface forces generated by four antibiotics; vancomycin, ristomycin, chloroeremomycin and oritavancin against drug-susceptible and drug-resistant targets on a cantilever and demonstrated significant differences in mechanical response when drug-resistant targets are challenged with different antibiotics although no significant differences were observed when using susceptible targets. Remarkably, the binding affinity for oritavancin against drug-resistant targets (70 nM) was found to be 11,000 times stronger than for vancomycin (800 μM), a powerful antibiotic used as the last resort treatment for streptococcal and staphylococcal bacteria including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Using an exactly solvable model, which takes into account the solvent and membrane effects, we demonstrate that drug-target interactions are strengthened by pronounced polyvalent interactions catalyzed by the surface itself. These findings further enhance our understanding of antibiotic mode of action and will enable development of more effective therapies.

Concepts: Bacteria, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic, Penicillin