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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Clumping factor A-mediated virulence during Staphylococcus aureus infection is retained despite fibrinogen depletion.

Clumping factor A (ClfA), a fibrinogen-binding protein expressed on the Staphylococcus aureus cell surface, has previously been shown to act as a virulence factor in experimental septic arthritis. Although the interaction between ClfA and fibrinogen is assumed to be of importance for the virulence of S. aureus, this has not been demonstrated in any in vivo model of infection. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the contribution of this interaction to ClfA-mediated virulence in murine S. aureus-induced arthritis. Ancrod, a serine protease with thrombin-like activity, was used to induce in vivo depletion of fibrinogen in mice. Ancrod treatment significantly aggravated septic arthritis following inoculation with a ClfA-expressing strain (Newman) compared to control treatment. Also, ancrod treatment tended to enhance the arthritis induced by a clfA mutant strain (DU5876), indicating that fibrinogen depletion exacerbates septic arthritis in a ClfA-independent manner. Most importantly, the ClfA-expressing strain was much more arthritogenic than the isogenic clfA mutant, following inoculation of fibrinogen-depleted mice. This finding indicates that the interaction between ClfA and free fibrinogen is not required for ClfA-mediated functions contributing to S. aureus virulence. It is conceivable that ClfA contributes to the virulence of S. aureus through interactions with other host ligands than fibrinogen.[1]


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