The major autolysin of Staphylococcus lugdunensis, AtlL, is involved in cell separation, stress-induced autolysis and contributes to bacterial pathogenesis



Staphylococcus lugdunensis is a human skin commensal organism, but it is considered as a virulent Staphylococcus species. In a previous study, we described the first S. lugdunensis autolysin, AtlL. This enzyme displays two enzymatic domains and generates two peptidoglycan hydrolases, an N-acetylmuramoyl-l-alanine amidase and an N-acetylglucosaminidase. In this study, to further investigate the functions of this autolysin, a ΔatlL mutant was constructed. The microscopic examination of the mutant showed cell aggregates and revealed a rough outer cell surface demonstrating, respectively, the roles of AtlL in cell separation and peptidoglycan turnover. This ΔatlL mutant exhibited a lower susceptibility to Triton X-100-induced autolysis assays and appears to be more resistant to cell wall antibiotic-induced lysis and death compared with its parental strain. The atlL mutation affected the biofilm formation capacity of S. lugdunensis. Furthermore, the ΔatlL mutant showed trends toward reduced virulence using the Caenorhabditis elegans model. Overall, AtlL appears as a major cell wall autolysin of S. lugdunensis implicated in cell separation, in stress-induced autolysis and in bacterial pathogenesis.