Background: Staphylococcus aureus expresses a variety of adhesins involved in the colonization of host tissues. This study aimed to evaluate the role of staphylococcal surface proteins in the aetiology of infective endocarditis (IE) and the host immune response to infection. Materials and methods: The ELISA assays were used to assess the adherence of S. aureus isolates recovered from the blood cultures of 19 patients with IE (16 were drug abusers) to subendothelial matrix proteins. Anti-adhesin antibody titre was measured incubating surface-coated bacterial antigens with patients' IgG. S. aureus effects on platelet aggregation were evaluated with an aggregometer. Results: Staphylococcus aureus isolates, from the patients with IE, exhibited a high expression of several surface components recognizing extracellular matrix proteins: clumping factors A and B (ClfA and ClfB) and fibronectin-binding proteins (FnbpA and FnbpB), whereas only four strains expressed the collagen-binding protein CNA. Bacteria also interacted with platelets both in the absence or presence of fibronectin or fibrinogen and some strongly supported platelet aggregation. Almost all patients presented significantly higher antibody reactivity to ClfA, ClfB, FnbpA, CNA and MAP (MHC class II analogous protein) than in sera from healthy individuals. On the contrary, the reactivity to CNA was remarkable only in three patients. The IgG preparations weakly inhibited the binding of bacteria to fibronectin, whereas they exhibited considerable blocking activity on staphylococcal attachment to fibrinogen or collagen. Conclusions: Adhesins ClfA, ClfB and FnbpA are produced in vivo and appear important factors both in valve colonization and in promoting host immune responses.
- Staphylococcus aureus
ASJC Scopus subject areas