Growth promotion of the opportunistic human pathogen, Staphylococcus lugdunensis, by heme, hemoglobin, and coculture with Staphylococcus aureus

Authors

  • Jeremy R. Brozyna,

    1. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • Jessica R. Sheldon,

    1. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
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  • David E. Heinrichs

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
    2. Centre for Human Immunology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
    • Correspondence

      David E. Heinrichs, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C1. Tel: (519) 661-3984; Fax: (519) 661-3499; E-mail: deh@uwo.ca

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Abstract

Staphylococcus lugdunensis is both a commensal of humans and an opportunistic pathogen. Little is currently known about the molecular mechanisms underpinning the virulence of this bacterium. Here, we demonstrate that in contrast to S. aureus, S. lugdunensis makes neither staphyloferrin A (SA) nor staphyloferrin B (SB) in response to iron deprivation, owing to the absence of the SB gene cluster, and a large deletion in the SA biosynthetic gene cluster. As a result, the species grows poorly in serum-containing media, and this defect was complemented by introduction of the S. aureus SA gene cluster into S. lugdunensis. S. lugdunensis expresses the HtsABC and SirABC transporters for SA and SB, respectively; the latter gene set is found within the isd (heme acquisition) gene cluster. An isd deletion strain was significantly debilitated for iron acquisition from both heme and hemoglobin, and was also incapable of utilizing ferric-SB as an iron source, while an hts mutant could not grow on ferric-SA as an iron source. In iron-restricted coculture experiments, S. aureus significantly enhanced the growth of S. lugdunensis, in a manner dependent on staphyloferrin production by S. aureus, and the expression of the cognate transporters by S. lugdunensis.

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