How the bacterium that plays role in spread of MRSA colonises the human nose

January 28, 2013

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) colonises our nasal passages. The study, recently published in the prestigious journal PLOS Pathogens, shows for the first time that a protein located on the bacterial surface called clumping factor B (ClfB) recognises a protein called loricrin that is a major component of the envelope of cells in the nose and skin.

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

ClfB was previously shown to promote S. aureus colonisation in a human nasal volunteer study. This paper now identifies the mechanism by which ClfB facilitates S. aureus nasal colonisation. ClfB binding to loricrin was shown to be crucial for successful colonisation of the nose in a mouse model. A mouse lacking loricrin allowed fewer bacterial cells to colonise its nasal passages than a normal mouse. When S. aureus strains that lacked ClfB were used nasal colonisation was dramatically reduced. Finally it was shown that soluble loricrin could reduce binding of S. aureus to human nasal skin cells and that nasal administration of loricrin reduced S. aureus colonisation of mice.

Trinity's Assistant Professor at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology Rachel McLoughlin and Professor of Tim Foster, the study's corresponding authors concluded: "Loricrin is a major determinant of S. aureus nasal colonisation. This discovery opens new avenues for developing therapeutic strategies to reduce the burden of nasal carriage and consequently infections with this bacterium. This is particularly important given the difficulties associated with treating MRSA infections".

Explore further: Staphylococcus aureus: Why it just gets up your nose

More information: Mulcahy, M. et al. (2012) Nasal Colonisation by Staphylococcus aureus Depends upon Clumping Factor B Binding to the Squamous Epithelial Cell Envelope Protein Loricrin. PLoS Pathog 8(12): e1003092. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003092

Related Stories

Staphylococcus aureus: Why it just gets up your nose

December 27, 2012
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) ...

MRSA skin infections up, linked to furunculosis

July 27, 2012
(HealthDay) -- The incidence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) in the United States is increasing and is associated with follicular infection, most commonly folliculitis followed ...

Coffee and tea consumption reduce MRSA risk

July 15, 2011
While an apple a day may keep the doctor away, new research published in the Annals of Family Medicine say that hot tea or coffee may keep the methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus, or MRSA, bug away, or at least out ...

Impact of MRSA nasal colonization on surgical site infections after gastrointestinal surgery

May 20, 2012
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus (MRSA) nasal colonization is associated with longer hospital stays and an increase in surgical site infections (SSI) in patients undergoing major gastrointestinal surgery, according to ...

Long-term use of antibiotic to treat acne not associated with increased bacterial resistance

April 11, 2011
The prolonged use of tetracycline antibiotics commonly used to treat acne was associated with a reduced prevalence of StaphylococcuS. aureus bacteria and was not associated with increased resistance to the tetracycline antibiotics, ...

Recommended for you

Male hepatitis B patients suffer worse liver ailments, regardless of lifestyle

July 25, 2017
Why men with hepatitis B remain more than twice as likely to develop severe liver disease than women remains a mystery, even after a study led by a recent Drexel University graduate took lifestyle choices and environments ...

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Research examines lung cell turnover as risk factor and target for treatment of influenza pneumonia

July 24, 2017
Influenza is a recurring global health threat that, according to the World Health Organization, is responsible for as many as 500,000 deaths every year, most due to influenza pneumonia, or viral pneumonia. Infection with ...

Scientists propose novel therapy to lessen risk of obesity-linked disease

July 24, 2017
With obesity related illnesses a global pandemic, researchers propose in the Journal of Clinical Investigation using a blood thinner to target molecular drivers of chronic metabolic inflammation in people eating high-fat ...

Raccoon roundworm—a hidden human parasite?

July 24, 2017
The raccoon that topples your trashcan and pillages your garden may leave more than just a mess. More likely than not, it also contaminates your yard with parasites—most notably, raccoon roundworms (Baylisascaris procyonis).

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.