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Interaction of Phenol-Soluble Modulins with Phosphatidylcholine Vesicles
Pathogen Molecular Genetics Section, Laboratory of Human Bacterial Pathogenesis, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, The National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 May 2012; in revised form: 5 June 2012 / Accepted: 19 July 2012 / Published: 20 July 2012
Abstract: Several members of the staphylococcal phenol-soluble modulin (PSM) peptide family exhibit pronounced capacities to lyse eukaryotic cells, such as neutrophils, monocytes, and erythrocytes. This is commonly assumed to be due to the amphipathic, α-helical structure of PSMs, giving PSMs detergent-like characteristics and allowing for a relatively non-specific destruction of biological membranes. However, the capacities of PSMs to lyse synthetic phospholipid vesicles have not been investigated. Here, we analyzed lysis of synthetic phosphatidylcholine (1-palmitoyl-2-oleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine, POPC) vesicles by all Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis PSMs. In addition, we investigated the lytic capacities of culture filtrates obtained from different S. aureus PSM deletion mutants toward POPC vesicles. Our results show that all staphylococcal PSMs have phospholipid vesicle-lysing activity and the capacity of S. aureus culture filtrate to lyse POPC vesicles is exclusively dependent on PSMs. Notably, we observed largely differing capacities among PSM peptides to lyse POPC vesicles. Interestingly, POPC vesicle-lytic capacities did not correlate with those previously seen for the lysis of eukaryotic cells. For example, the β-type PSMs were strongly lytic for POPC vesicles, but are known to exhibit only very low lytic capacities toward neutrophils and erythrocytes. Thus our results also suggest that the interaction between PSMs and eukaryotic membranes is more specific than previously assumed, potentially depending on additional structural features of those membranes, such as phospholipid composition or yet unidentified docking molecules.
Keywords: phenol-soluble modulin; Staphylococcus aureus; Staphylococcus epidermidis; toxin; vesicles
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Duong, A.C.; Cheung, G.Y.C.; Otto, M. Interaction of Phenol-Soluble Modulins with Phosphatidylcholine Vesicles. Pathogens 2012, 1, 3-11.
Duong AC, Cheung GYC, Otto M. Interaction of Phenol-Soluble Modulins with Phosphatidylcholine Vesicles. Pathogens. 2012; 1(1):3-11.
Duong, Anthony C.; Cheung, Gordon Y. C.; Otto, Michael. 2012. "Interaction of Phenol-Soluble Modulins with Phosphatidylcholine Vesicles." Pathogens 1, no. 1: 3-11.