Expression and regulation of phenol-soluble modulins and enterotoxins in foodborne Staphylococcus aureus

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Although high levels of staphylococcal phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs) in clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been shown to correlate with bacterial virulence, the PSMs expression in foodborne Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), as well as its association with staphylococcal food poisoning (SFP) was not yet clear. We collected a panel of 350 foodborne and 127 clinic-derived S. aureus strains and compared their PSMs expression. Overall, foodborne strains exhibited higher PSMs than clinical isolates, indicating a potential pathological significance of PSMs in staphylococcal food contamination. Furthermore, PSMs expression and staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs) levels in relation to antibiotic sensitive and resistant strains were analysed. While the co-expression of PSMs and SEs was confirmed, one typical foodborne strain simultaneously yielding PSMs, SEB and SED was selected. By comparing this wildtype strain to a series of gene-deficient mutants, we concluded that PSMs and SEs expressions both relied on staphylococcal accessory regulator A initiation in the early stage of accessory gene regulator control, yet their succedent regulations differentiated to RNAIII-dependent and independent, respectively. These data provided preliminary insight into PSMs and SEs expression in foodborne S. aureus, and may guide the further studies on PSMs effects in SFP.




Wu, X., Yang, M., Fang, X., Zhen, S., Zhang, J., Yang, X., … Zhang, C. (2018). Expression and regulation of phenol-soluble modulins and enterotoxins in foodborne Staphylococcus aureus. AMB Express, 8(1).

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