Caister Academic Press

Staphylococcal Virulence Factors

Patrick M. Schlievert
from: Staphylococcus: Genetics and Physiology (Edited by: Greg A. Somerville). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2016) Pages: 81-106.


Staphylococcus aureus is a multi-dimensional pathogen that colonizes and infects only animals, including humans, with immune systems. The organism causes large numbers of infections worldwide, both relatively benign and highly serious, through its production of colonization factors and three tiers of virulence factors which interfere with immune function. Secreted superantigens and exfoliative toxins systemically interfere with immune function through dysregulation of cells and opening immune barriers, respectively. Secreted cytotoxins kill immune cells influxing into local areas of infection. At the same time, some microbial colonization factors sequester the organism in walled off sites, the hallmark of S. aureus infections, and in biofilms. Finally, if the immune system somehow bypasses these first two tiers of microbial resistance, S. aureus has capsules, other polysaccharides, and pigment as last lines of defense. This review discusses these virulence factors from the presumed staphylococcal point of view read more ...
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