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Toxins 2015, 7(5), 1821-1836; doi:10.3390/toxins7051821

Superantigens Modulate Bacterial Density during Staphylococcus aureus Nasal Colonization

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, ON N6A 5C1, Canada
Lawson Health Research Institute, London, ON N6A 5C1, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Teresa Krakauer
Received: 17 December 2014 / Accepted: 15 May 2015 / Published: 22 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enterotoxins: Microbial Proteins and Host Cell Dysregulation)
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Superantigens (SAgs) are potent microbial toxins that function to activate large numbers of T cells in a T cell receptor (TCR) Vβ-specific manner, resulting in excessive immune system activation. Staphylococcus aureus possesses a large repertoire of distinct SAgs, and in the context of host-pathogen interactions, staphylococcal SAg research has focused primarily on the role of these toxins in severe and invasive diseases. However, the contribution of SAgs to colonization by S. aureus remains unclear. We developed a two-week nasal colonization model using SAg-sensitive transgenic mice expressing HLA-DR4, and evaluated the role of SAgs using two well-studied stains of S. aureus. S. aureus Newman produces relatively low levels of staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA), and although we did not detect significant TCR-Vβ specific changes during wild-type S. aureus Newman colonization, S. aureus Newman Δsea established transiently higher bacterial loads in the nose. S. aureus COL produces relatively high levels of staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), and colonization with wild-type S. aureus COL resulted in clear Vβ8-specific T cell skewing responses. S. aureus COL Δseb established consistently higher bacterial loads in the nose. These data suggest that staphylococcal SAgs may be involved in regulating bacterial densities during nasal colonization. View Full-Text
Keywords: superantigen; Staphylococcus aureus; nasal colonization; humanized mice superantigen; Staphylococcus aureus; nasal colonization; humanized mice

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Xu, S.X.; Kasper, K.J.; Zeppa, J.J.; McCormick, J.K. Superantigens Modulate Bacterial Density during Staphylococcus aureus Nasal Colonization. Toxins 2015, 7, 1821-1836.

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