Staphylococcal protein A contributes to persistent colonization of mice with Staphylococcus aureus

Yan Sun, Carla Emolo, Silva Holtfreter, Siouxsie Wiles, Barry Kreiswirth, Dominique Missiakas, Olaf Schneewind

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus aureus persistently colonizes the nasopharynx in humans, which increases the risk for invasive diseases, such as skin infection and bacteremia. Nasal colonization triggers IgG responses against staphylococcal surface antigens; however, these antibodies cannot prevent subsequent colonization or disease. Here, we describe S. aureus WU1, a multilocus sequence type 88 (ST88) isolate that persistently colonizes the nasopharynx in mice. We report that staphylococcal protein A (SpA) is required for persistence of S. aureus WU1 in the nasopharynx. Compared to animals colonized by wild-type S. aureus, mice colonized with the Δspa variant mount increased IgG responses against staphylococcal colonization determinants. Immunization of mice with a nontoxigenic SpA variant, which cannot cross-link B cell receptors and divert antibody responses, elicits protein A-neutralizing antibodies that promote IgG responses against colonizing S. aureus and diminish pathogen persistence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00735-17
JournalJournal of bacteriology
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


  • Colonization
  • Immune response
  • Immunity
  • Staphylococcal protein A
  • Staphylococcus aureus


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