Study identifies mechanism by which bacterium S. aureus colonizes nasal passages

Published on December 29, 2012 at 4:43 AM · No Comments

Nasal colonization by Staphylococcus aureus depends upon clumping factor B binding to the squamous epithelial cell envelope protein loricrin

A collaboration between researchers at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology and the Department of Microbiology at Trinity College Dublin has identified a mechanism by which the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) colonizes our nasal passages. The study, published today in the Open Access journal PLOS Pathogens, shows for the first time that a protein located on the bacterial surface called clumping factor B (ClfB) has high affinity for the skin protein loricrin.

S. aureus is a major human pathogen, with the potential to cause severe invasive diseases. It is a major cause for concern in hospitals and healthcare facilities, where many infections are caused by strains resistant to commonly used antibiotics [MRSA]. Interestingly, S. aureus persistently colonizes about 20% of the human population by binding to skin-like cells within the nasal cavity. Being colonized predisposes an individual towards becoming infected so it is vital that we understand the mechanisms involved.

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