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Bioinformatics and Functional Assessment of Toxin-Antitoxin Systems in Staphylococcus aureus

Division of Molecular Medicine, Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences at Microscale, the CAS Key Laboratory of Innate Immunity and Chronic Disease, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230027, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2018, 10(11), 473;
Received: 14 October 2018 / Revised: 7 November 2018 / Accepted: 11 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Staphylococcus aureus Toxins)
Staphylococcus aureus is a nosocomial pathogen that can cause chronic to persistent infections. Among different mediators of pathogenesis, toxin-antitoxin (TA) systems are emerging as the most prominent. These systems are frequently studied in Escherichia coli and Mycobacterial species but rarely explored in S. aureus. In the present study, we thoroughly analyzed the S. aureus genome and screened all possible TA systems using the Rasta bacteria and toxin-antitoxin database. We further searched E. coli and Mycobacterial TA homologs and selected 67 TA loci as putative TA systems in S. aureus. The host inhibition of growth (HigBA) TA family was predominantly detected in S. aureus. In addition, we detected seven pathogenicity islands in the S. aureus genome that are enriched with virulence genes and contain 26 out of 67 TA systems. We ectopically expressed multiple TA genes in E. coli and S. aureus that exhibited bacteriostatic and bactericidal effects on cell growth. The type I Fst toxin created holes in the cell wall while the TxpA toxin reduced cell size and induced cell wall septation. Besides, we identified a new TA system whose antitoxin functions as a transcriptional autoregulator while the toxin functions as an inhibitor of autoregulation. Altogether, this study provides a plethora of new as well as previously known TA systems that will revitalize the research on S. aureus TA systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; toxin-antitoxin systems; HigBA; pathogenicity islands Staphylococcus aureus; toxin-antitoxin systems; HigBA; pathogenicity islands
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Habib, G.; Zhu, Q.; Sun, B. Bioinformatics and Functional Assessment of Toxin-Antitoxin Systems in Staphylococcus aureus. Toxins 2018, 10, 473.

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