The identification and characterization of the Staphylococcus aureus microbial immunomodulatory molecules (MIMS) Map and Efb

Lawrence Y. L Lee, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Staphylococcus aureus is an opportunistic pathogen that is a major health threat in the clinical and community settings. An interesting hallmark of patients infected with S. aureus is that they do not usually develop a protective immune response and are susceptible to reinfection, in part because of the ability of S. aureus to modulate host immunity. The ability to evade host immune responses is a key contributor to the infection process and is critical in S. aureus survival and pathogenesis. This study investigates the immunomodulatory effects of two secreted proteins produced by S. aureus, the MHC class II analog protein (Map) and the extracellular fibrinogen-binding protein (Efb). Map has been demonstrated to modulate host immunity by interfering with T cell function. Map has been shown to significantly reduce T cell proliferative responses and significantly reduce delayed-type hypersensitivity responses to challenge antigen. In addition, the effects of Map on the infection process were tested in a mouse model of infection. Mice infected with Map− S. aureus (Map deficient strain) presented with significantly reduced levels of arthritis, osteomyelitis and abscess formation compared to mice infected with the wild-type Map+S. aureus strain suggesting that Map−S. aureus is much less virulent than Map+S. aureus. Furthermore, Map−S. aureus-infected nude mice developed arthritis and osteomyelitis to a severity similar to Map +S. aureus-infected controls, suggesting that T cells can affect disease outcome following S. aureus infection and Map may attenuate cellular immunity against S. aureus. The extracellular fibrinogen-binding protein (Efb) was identified when cultured S. aureus supernatants were probed with the complement component C3. The binding of C3 to Efb resulted in studies investigating the effects of Efb on complement activation. We have demonstrated that Efb can inhibit both the classical and alternative complement pathways. Moreover, we have shown that Efb can inhibit complement mediated opsonophagocytosis. Further studies have characterized the Efb-C3 binding interaction and localized the C3-binding domain to the C-terminal region of Efb. In addition, we demonstrate that Efb binds specifically to a region within the C3d fragment of C3. This study demonstrates that Map and Efb can interfere with both the acquired and innate host immune pathways and that these proteins contribute to the success of S. aureus in evading host immunity and in establishing disease.

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Recommended Citation

Lee, Lawrence Y. L, "The identification and characterization of the Staphylococcus aureus microbial immunomodulatory molecules (MIMS) Map and Efb" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3131483.