Staphylococcus aureus has the ability to cause infections in multiple organ systems, suggesting an ability to rapidly adapt to changing carbon and nitrogen sources. Although there is little information about the nutrients available at specific sites of infection, a mature skin abscess has been characterized as glucose depleted, indicating that peptides and free amino acids are an important source of nutrients for the bacteria. Our studies have found that mutations in enzymes necessary for growth on amino acids, including pyruvate carboxykinase (ΔpckA) and glutamate dehydrogenase (ΔgudB), reduced the ability of the bacteria to proliferate within a skin abscess, suggesting that peptides and free amino acids are important for S. aureus growth. Furthermore, we found that collagen, an abundant host protein that is present throughout a skin abscess, serves as a reservoir of peptides. To liberate peptides from the collagen, we identified that the host protease, MMP-9, as well as the staphylococcal proteases aureolysin and staphopain B function to cleave collagen into peptide fragments that can support S. aureus growth under nutrient-limited conditions. Moreover, the oligopeptide transporter Opp3 is the primary staphylococcal transporter responsible for peptide acquisition. Lastly, we observed that the presence of peptides (3-mer to 7-mer) induces the expression of aureolysin, suggesting that S. aureus has the ability to detect peptides in the environment.IMPORTANCE Staphylococcus aureus has the ability to cause infections in a variety of niches, suggesting a robust metabolic capacity facilitating proliferation under various nutrient conditions. The mature skin abscess is glucose depleted, indicating that peptides and free amino acids are important sources of nutrients for S. aureus Our studies have found that mutations in both pyruvate carboxykinase and glutamate dehydrogenase, enzymes that function in essential gluconeogenesis reactions when amino acids serve as the major carbon source, reduce bacterial burden in a murine skin abscess model. Moreover, peptides liberated from collagen by host protease MMP-9 as well as the staphylococcal protease aureolysin support S. aureus growth in an Opp3-dependent manner under nutrient-limited conditions. Additionally, the presence of peptides induces aureolysin expression. Overall, these studies define one pathway by which S. aureus senses a nutrient-limiting environment and induces factors that function to acquire and utilize carbon from host-derived sources.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Lehman, McKenzie K.; Nuxoll, Austin S.; Yamada, Kelsey J.; Kielian, Tammy; Carson, Steven D.; and Fey, Paul D., "Protease-Mediated Growth of Staphylococcus aureus on Host Proteins Is opp3 Dependent" (2019). Journal Articles: Pathology and Microbiology. 64.
inline-supplementary-material-2.pdf (226 kB)
inline-supplementary-material-3.docx (12 kB)
inline-supplementary-material-4.pdf (543 kB)
inline-supplementary-material-5.docx (12 kB)
inline-supplementary-material-6.pdf (276 kB)
inline-supplementary-material-7.docx (22 kB)
inline-supplementary-material-8.docx (15 kB)