Prerequisites for successful Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization: Impact of strain-specific features and of the nasal microenvironment

BMBF 01KI07100im Projekt “The Skin – barrier and target to Staphylococcus aureus: from colonization to invasive infection (SkIn Staph)” im BMBF-Verbundprojekt “Suszeptibilität von Infektionen
C. von Eiff, K. Becker, B. Kahl, G. Peters
08/2007 – 07/2010
Although the prime niche for Staphylococcus aureus colonization, i.e. the anterior nares, has been identified and colonization has been associated with increased risk for subsequent infections, S. aureus strain-specific characteristics as well as host factors including the coinhabiting flora in the nasal cavity are poorly investigated. Aim of this project will be to identify phenotypic and genotypic S. aureus features responsible for successful colonization of the anterior nares and subsequent infections, in particular skin and wound infections. We will define the precise ecological niche and reveal microbial factors involved in the establishment of persisting populations of epidemiologically successful S. aureus lineages in healthy and diseased individuals. Furthermore, the microflora and microenvironment of the human nasal epithelial barrier will be investigated in order to analyze their impact for the defense towards colonisation and infection. For this purpose, a complete qualitative and quantitative culture-based bacteriological inventarisation for the anterior nares will be established. Selected S.aureus isolates recovered from persistent and intermittent nasal carriers will be characterized by a combined transcriptomic, proteomic as well as metabolomic approach. Information on the dynamic interactions within the nasal biocenosis might be translated into new approaches to prevent colonization and subsequent infections with S. aureus, in particular with multi-resistant or highly virulent strains of S. aureus. Moreover, this project will generate a well-defined and well-characterized strain and corresponding clinical specimen collection for further studies within this network.

Staphylococcal phenotypes: Normal and small colony variant (SCV) phenotype