Clinical MRSA isolates from skin and soft tissue infections show increased in vitro production of phenol soluble modulins

TEugene Athanitle: Clinical MRSA isolates from skin and soft tissue infections show increased in vitro production of phenol soluble modulins

Authors: Berlon, Nicholas R.; Qi, Robert; Sharma-Kuinkel, Batu K.; Joo, Hwang-Soo; Park, Lawrence P.; George, Dennis; Thaden, Joshua T.; Messina, Julia A.; Maskarinec, Stacey A.; Mueller-Premru, Manica; Athan, Eugene; Tattevin, Pierre; Pericas, Juan M.; Woods, Christopher W.; Otto, Michael; Fowler, Vance G., Jr.

Source: JOURNAL OF INFECTION, 71 (4):447-457, OCT 2015

Brief summary of the paper:

BACKGROUND: Phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs) are amphipathic, pro-inflammatory proteins secreted by most Staphylococcus aureus isolates. This study tested the hypothesis that in vitro PSM production levels are associated with specific clinical phenotypes.

METHODS: 177 methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates from infective endocarditis (IE), skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI), and hospital-acquired/ventilator-associated pneumonia (HAP) were matched by geographic origin, then genotyped using spa-typing. In vitro PSM production was measured by high performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Statistical analysis was performed using Chi-squared or Kruskal-Wallis tests as appropriate.

RESULTS: Spa type 1 was significantly more common in SSTI isolates (62.7% SSTI; 1.7% IE; 16.9% HAP; p < 0.0001) while HAP and IE isolates were more commonly spa type 2 (0% SSTI; 37.3% IE; 40.7% HAP; p < 0.0001). USA300 isolates produced the highest levels of PSMs in vitro. SSTI isolates produced significantly higher quantities of PSMα1-4, PSMβ1, and δ-toxin than other isolates (p < 0.001). These findings persisted when USA300 isolates were excluded from analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Increased in vitro production of PSMs is associated with an SSTI clinical source. This significant association persisted after exclusion of USA300 genotype isolates from analysis, suggesting that PSMs play a particularly important role in the pathogenesis of SSTI as compared to other infection types.