Accessory gene regulator (Agr) functionality in Staphylococcus aureus derived from lower respiratory tract infections

Meissiner Gomes-Fernandes, Maisem Laabei, Natalia Pagan, Jessica Hidalgo, Sònia Molinos, Raquel Villar Hernandez, Dídac Domínguez-Villanueva, A. Toby A. Jenkins, Alicia Lacoma, Cristina Prat

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    © 2017 Gomes-Fernandes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Objective Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus clinical isolates derived from lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), and correlation between the functionality of the accessory gene regulator (Agr) and genotypic and phenotypic characteristics, clinical variables and clinical outcome. Methods S aureus isolates derived from LRTIs and control groups (nasal carriage and bacteraemia) were genotyped using StaphyType DNA microarray. Agr activity was evaluated using the CAMP synergistic haemolysis assay and the Vesicle Lysis Test (VLT). Discordant strains were analysed by quantitative reverse-transcriptase real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Results Agr was functional in 79.7% and 84.5% of strains according to the CAMP and VLT assays respectively. Higher concordance with RNAIII expression measured by qRT-PCR was observed with the VLT assay (76.2%) compared with the CAMP assay (23.8%). No statistically significant differences were observed in Agr functionality between the study groups, nor the phenotypical/genotypical bacterial characteristics. No association between increased mortality/respiratory complications and Agr function was observed. Conclusions Agr activity was high (82.2%) in isolates from LRTIs suggesting the importance of this global regulator in lower respiratory tract colonisation and infection. However, equally high Agr activity was observed in isolates derived from nasal carriage and bacteraemia, contradictory to previous observations. Agr functionality measured by the VLT assay was superior to CAMP assay.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0175552
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


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