Coagulase-negative staphylococci as reservoirs of genes facilitating MRSA infection

Staphylococcal commensal species such as Staphylococcus epidermidis are being recognized as important sources of genes promoting MRSA colonization and virulence

Authors

  • Michael Otto

    Corresponding author
    1. Pathogen Molecular Genetics Section, Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, USA
    • Pathogen Molecular Genetics Section, Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD, USA.
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Abstract

Recent research has suggested that Staphylococcus epidermidis is a reservoir of genes that, after horizontal transfer, facilitate the potential of Staphylococcus aureus to colonize, survive during infection, or resist antibiotic treatment, traits that are notably manifest in methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). S. aureus is a dangerous human pathogen and notorious for acquiring antibiotic resistance. MRSA in particular is one of the most frequent causes of morbidity and death in hospitalized patients. S. aureus is an extremely versatile pathogen with a multitude of mechanisms to cause disease and circumvent immune defenses. In contrast, most other staphylococci, such as S. epidermidis, are commonly benign commensals and only occasionally cause disease. Recent findings highlight the key importance of efforts to better understand how genes of staphylococci other than S. aureus contribute to survival in the human host, how they are transferred to S. aureus, and why this exchange appears to be uni-directional.

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