Inactivation of the Response Regulator AgrA Has a Pleiotropic Effect on Biofilm Formation, Pathogenesis and Stress Response in Staphylococcus lugdunensis

Marion Aubourg, Marine Pottier, Albertine Léon, Benoit Bernay, Anne Dhalluin, Margherita Cacaci, Riccardo Torelli, Pierre Ledormand, Cecilia Martini, Maurizio Sanguinetti, Michel Auzou, François Gravey, Jean-Christophe Giard

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Staphylococcus lugdunensis is a coagulase-negative Staphylococcus that emerges as an important opportunistic pathogen. However, little is known about the regulation underlying the transition from commensal to virulent state. Based on knowledge of S. aureus virulence, we suspected that the agr quorum sensing system may be an important determinant for the pathogenicity of S. lugdunensis. We investigated the functions of the transcriptional regulator AgrA using the agrA deletion mutant. AgrA played a role in cell pigmentation: Delta argA mutant colonies were white while the parental strains were slightly yellow. Compared with the wild-type strain, the Delta argA mutant was affected in its ability to form biofilm and was less able to survive in mice macrophages. Moreover, the growth of Delta agrA was significantly reduced by the addition of 10% NaCl or 0.4 mM H2O2 and its survival after 2 h in the presence of 1 mM H2O2 was more than 10-fold reduced. To explore the mechanisms involved beyond these phenotypes, the Delta agrA proteome and transcriptome were characterized by mass spectrometry and RNA-Seq. We found that AgrA controlled several virulence factors as well as stress-response factors, which are well correlated with the reduced resistance of the Delta agrA mutant to osmotic and oxidative stresses. These results were not the consequence of the deregulation of RNAIII of the agr system, since no phenotype or alteration of the proteomic profile has been observed for the Delta RNAIII mutant. Altogether, our results highlighted that the AgrA regulator of S. lugdunensis played a key role in its ability to become pathogenic.IMPORTANCE Although belonging to the natural human skin flora, Staphylococcus lugdunensis is recognized as a particularly aggressive and destructive pathogen. This study aimed to characterize the role of the response regulator AgrA, which is a component of the quorum-sensing agr system and known to be a major element in the regulation of pathogenicity and biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus. In the present study, we showed that, contrary to S. aureus, the agrA deletion mutant produced less biofilm. Inactivation of agrA conferred a white colony phenotype and impacted S. lugdunensis in its ability to survive in mice macrophages and to cope with osmotic and oxidative stresses. By global proteomic and transcriptomic approaches, we identified the AgrA regulon, bringing molecular bases underlying the observed phenotypes. Together, our data showed the importance of AgrA in the opportunistic pathogenic behavior of S. lugdunensis allowing it to be considered as an interesting therapeutic target.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
RivistaMicrobiology spectrum
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • AgrA
  • Staphylococcus lugdunensis
  • agr system
  • transcriptional regulation


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