RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
Adhesin and superantigen genes and the capacity of Staphylococcus aureus to colonize the infantile gut.
Staphylococcus aureus is a pathogen and a skin commensal that is today also common in the infant gut flora. We examine the role of S. aureus virulence factors for gut colonization. S. aureus isolated from quantitative stool cultures of 49 Swedish infants followed from birth to 12 months of age were assessed for 30 virulence-associated genes, spa type, and agr allele by serial polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. Strains carrying genes encoding collagen-binding protein, and the superantigens S. aureus enterotoxin O/M (SEO/SEM) had higher stool counts than strains lacking these genes, whereas genes for S. aureus enterotoxin A (SEA) were associated with low counts. A cluster of strains belonging to agr allele I and the spa clonal cluster 630 (spa-CC 630) that carried genes encoding SEO/SEM, SEC, collagen-binding protein, and elastin-binding protein were all long-time colonizers. Thus, certain S. aureus virulence factors might promote gut colonization.
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