An Institut Pasteur-CNRS research team has characterized a Staphylococcus aureus gene involved in virulence, biofilm formation and resistance to certain antibiotics. These results open up new avenues for understanding the control of S. aureus virulence mechanisms. This work was recently published in the journal PLoS Pathogens.
Staphylococcus aureus is part of the natural skin flora, preferentially colonizing external mucosa in 30 to 50% of the population, healthy carriers who develop no symptoms. But it is also a major human pathogen, causing diseases ranging from skin lesions (boils, impetigo, etc.) to endocarditis, acute pneumonia, osteomyelitis or sepsis. It is the leading Gram-positive bacterium responsible for nosocomial infections (hospital acquired infections). The most dangerous strains are those that display resistance to multiple antibiotics. This is the case of MRSA, resistant to Meticillin, widespread in hospitals and posing a major public health concern.