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Development of glycopeptide-intermediate resistance by Staphylococcus aureus leads to attenuated infectivity in a rat model of endocarditis.
Glycopeptide-intermediate resistant Staphylococcus aureus (GISA) are characterized by multiple changes in the cell wall and an altered expression of global virulence regulators. We investigated whether GISA are affected in their infectivity in a rat model of experimental endocarditis. The glycopeptide-susceptible, methicillin-resistant S. aureus M1V2 and its laboratory-derived GISA M1V16 were examined for their ability to (i) adhere to fibrinogen and fibronectin in vitro, (ii) persist in the bloodstream after intravenous inoculation, (iii) colonize aortic vegetations in rats, and (iv) compete for valve colonization by co-inoculation. Both GISA M1V16 and M1V2 adhered similarly to fibrinogen and fibronectin in vitro. In rats, GISA M1V16 was cleared faster from the blood (P < 0.05) and required 100-times more bacteria than parent M1V2 (10(6) versus 10(4)CFU) to infect 90% of vegetations. GISA M1V16 also had 100 to 1000-times lower bacterial densities in vegetations. Moreover, after co-inoculation with GISA M1V16 and M1V2Rif, a rifampin-resistant variant of M1V2 to discriminate them in organ cultures, GISA M1V16 was out-competed by the glycopeptide-susceptible counterpart. Thus, in rats with experimental endocarditis, GISA showed an attenuated virulence, likely due to a faster clearance from the blood and a reduced fitness in cardiac vegetations. The GISA phenotype appeared globally detrimental to infectivity.
Animals, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Bacterial Adhesion, Disease Models, Animal, Drug Resistance, Bacterial, Endocarditis, Bacterial, Glycopeptides, Mutation, Rats, Staphylococcal Infections, Staphylococcus aureus, Virulence
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