Assessment of adhesion, invasion and cytotoxicity potential of oral Staphylococcus aureus strains

Microbial Pathogenesis Volume 86, September 2015, Pages 1–9

The oral cavity is regarded as a relevant site for Staphylococcus aureus colonization. However, characterization of virulence mechanisms of oral S. aureus remains to be uncovered. In this study, twenty one S. aureus strains isolated from the oral cavity of Tunisian patients were screened for adherence, invasion and cytotoxicity against HeLa cells. In addition, the presence of adhesins (icaA, icaD, can, fnbA and fnbB) and α-hemolysin (hla) genes in each strain was achieved by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Our finding revealed that oral S. aureus strains were able to adhere and invade epithelial cells, with variable degrees (P < 0.05). Moreover they exhibited either low (23.8%) or moderate (76.2%) cytotoxic effects. In addition 76.2% of strains were icaA and icaD positive and 90.5% harbor both the fnbA and the fnbB gene. While the cna gene was detected in 12 strains (57.2%). Furthermore, the hla gene encoding the α-toxin was found in 52.4% of the isolates. All these virulence factors give to S. aureus the right qualities to become a redoubtable pathogen associated to oral infections.

Abderrahmen Merghni, Mouna Ben Nejma, Imen Helali, Hajer Hentati, Antonino Bongiovanni, Frank Lafont, Mahjou Aouni, Maha Mastouri

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