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

Relationship between some Staphylococcus aureus pathogenic factors and growth rates and somatic cell counts.

Staphylococcus aureus isolates produce several pathogenic factors. The combination of these products influences the pathogenic role of different isolates, but their specific effects are well known in the pathogenesis of udder infections. This study focused on the association of polymorphism of the coagulase gene, protein A gene, collagen-binding protein gene, and of fibrinogen-binding protein gene on somatic cell count (SCC) and on Staph. aureus growth rate. Fifty Staph. aureus isolates from 13 dairy cow herds, located in seven different provinces, were considered. The results showed a low frequency of cna gene, similar to the one observed in human isolates. Meanwhile, the high frequency of efb gene indirectly confirmed the role of this factor in bacterial pathogenesis, being associated with adhesion to epithelia. The association of these two single genes with SCC and growth rate showed to be not significant. The polymorphism of spa gene was confirmed to be significantly associated with inflammatory response and growth rate, albeit with a pattern different from the one suggested for human isolates. Sorting of isolates based on the clusters obtained by combining polymorphisms of spa and coa genes and the presence of cna and efb genes, showed that a single cluster (cluster V) was prevalent in the different herds and provinces, while the other six clusters identified were widely spread among the remaining 60% of the isolates. Results showed that clusters VI and VII had significantly higher growth rates at 3, 4, and 6 h in comparison with the other clusters. Meanwhile, quarters infected with these strains showed significantly lower SCC levels. The frequency of isolates from cluster V, suggested that they should possess pathogenic factors increasing their invasiveness, even if in the presence of a stronger inflammatory response. These results indirectly confirm previous findings on the different interactions between isolates and the udder immune system. They also suggest that isolates with higher growth rates and inducing a lower inflammatory response have better chances to spread among the herd. The relatively simple genomic method proposed in this study could be applied by an increasing number of diagnostic laboratories and could be useful in studying the epidemiology of Staph. aureus intra-mammary infections in dairy herds when collecting data from the field.[1]


  1. Relationship between some Staphylococcus aureus pathogenic factors and growth rates and somatic cell counts. Zecconi, A., Binda, E., Borromeo, V., Piccinini, R. J. Dairy Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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