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

Staphylococcus aureus induces platelet aggregation via a fibrinogen-dependent mechanism which is independent of principal platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa fibrinogen-binding domains.

Platelet aggregation by bacteria is felt to play an important role in the pathogenesis of infective endocarditis. However, the mechanisms involved in bacterium-induced platelet aggregation are not well-defined. In the present study, we examined the mechanisms by which Staphylococcus aureus causes rabbit platelet aggregation in vitro. In normal plasma, the kinetics of S. aureus-induced platelet aggregation were rapid and biphasic. The onset and magnitude of aggregation phase 1 varied with the bacterium-platelet ratio, with maximal aggregation observed at a ratio of 5:1. The onset of aggregation phase 2 was delayed in the presence of apyrase (an ADP hydrolase), suggesting that this later aggregation phase may be triggered by secreted ADP. The onset of aggregation phase 2 was delayed in the presence of prostaglandin I2-treated platelets, and this phase was absent when paraformaldehyde-fixed platelets were used, implicating platelet activation in this process. Platelet aggregation phase 2 was dependent on S. aureus viability and an intact bacterial cell wall, and it was mitigated by antibody directed against staphylococcal clumping factor (a fibrinogen-binding protein) and by the cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin. Similarly, aggregation phase 2 was either delayed or absent in three distinct transposon-induced S. aureus mutants with reduced capacities to bind fibrinogen in vitro. In addition, a synthetic pentadecapeptide, corresponding to the staphylococcal binding domain in the C terminus of the fibrinogen delta-chain, blocked aggregation phase 2. However, phase 2 of aggregation was not inhibited by two synthetic peptides (alone or in combination) analogous to the two principal fibrinogen-binding domains on the platelet glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa integrin receptor: (i) a recognition site on the IIIa molecule for the Arg-Gly-Asp (RGD) sequence of the fibrinogen alpha-chain and (ii) a recognition site on the IIb molecule for a dodecapeptide sequence of the fibrinogen delta-chain. This differs from ADP-induced platelet aggregation, which relies on an intact platelet GP IIb/IIIa receptor with an accessible RGD sequence and dodecapeptide recognition site for fibrinogen. Furthermore, a monoclonal antibody directed against the RGD recognition site on rabbit platelet GP IIb/IIIa receptors failed to inhibit rabbit platelet aggregation by S. aureus. Collectively, these data suggest that S. aureus-induced platelet aggregation requires bacterial binding to fibrinogen but is not principally dependent upon the two major fibrinogen-binding domains on the platelet GP IIb/IIIa integrin receptor, the RGD and dodecapeptide recognition sites.[1]


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