Phenol-soluble modulins (PSMs) are major determinants of Staphylococcus aureus virulence and their increased production in community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) likely contributes to the enhanced virulence of MRSA strains. Here, we analyzed the differences in bacterial cell aggregation according to PSM presence in the specific human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) environment. CSF samples from the intraventricular or lumbar intrathecal area of each patient and tryptic soy broth media were mixed at a 1:1 ratio, inoculated with WT and PSM-deleted mutants (Δpsm) of the CA-MRSA strain, USA300 LAC, and incubated overnight. Cell aggregation images were acquired after culture and image analysis was performed. The cell aggregation ratio in WT samples differed significantly between the two sampling sites (intraventricular: 0.2% vs. lumbar intrathecal: 6.7%, p < 0.001). The cell aggregation ratio in Δpsm samples also differed significantly between the two sampling sites (intraventricular: 0.0% vs. lumbar intrathecal: 1.2%, p < 0.001). Division of the study cases into two groups according to the aggregated area ratio (WT/Δpsm; group A: ratio of ≥ 2, group B: ratio of < 2) showed that the median aggregation ratio value differed significantly between groups A and B (5.5 and 0, respectively, p < 0.001). The differences in CSF distribution and PSM presence within the specific CSF environment are significant factors affecting bacterial cell aggregation.
- bacterial aggregation
- cerebrospinal fluid
- community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus
- phenol-soluble modulins