Differential induction of type i and iii interferons by staphylococcus aureus

Adeline Peignier, Paul J. Planet, Dane Parker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of bacterial pneumonia, and we have shown previously that type I interferon (IFN) contributes to the pathogenesis of this disease. In this study, we screened 75 S. aureus strains for their ability to induce type I and III IFN. Both cytokine pathways were differentially stimulated by various S. aureus strains independently of their isolation sites or methicillin resistance profiles. These induction patterns persisted over time, and type I and III IFN generation differentially correlated with tumor necrosis factor alpha production. Investigation of one isolate, strain 126, showed a significant defect in type I IFN induction that persisted over several time points. The lack of induction was not due to differential phagocytosis, subcellular location, or changes in endosomal acidification. A correlation between reduced type I IFN induction levels and decreased autolysis and lysostaphin sensitivity was found between strains. Strain 126 had a decreased rate of autolysis and increased resistance to lysostaphin degradation and host cellmediated killing. This strain displayed decreased virulence in a murine model of acute pneumonia compared to USA300 (current epidemic strain and commonly used in research) and had reduced capacity to induce multiple cytokines. We observed this isolate to be a vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA) strain, and reduced Ifnb was observed with a defined mutation in walK that induces a VISA phenotype. Overall, this study demonstrates the heterogeneity of IFN induction by S. aureus and uncovered an interesting property of a VISA strain in its inability to induce type I IFN production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00352
JournalInfection and immunity
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Lung
  • Pneumonia
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Type I interferon
  • Type III interferon
  • VISA
  • Vancomycin


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