Staphylococcus aureus skin colonization is mediated by SasG lectin variation.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Cell Rep, Volume 43, Issue 4, p.114022 (2024)


Bacterial Adhesion, Bacterial Proteins, Humans, Keratinocytes, Lectins, Phylogeny, Protein Binding, Skin, Staphylococcus aureus


<p>Staphylococcus aureus causes the majority of skin and soft tissue infections, but this pathogen only transiently colonizes healthy skin. However, this transient skin exposure enables S.&nbsp;aureus to transition to infection. The initial adhesion of S.&nbsp;aureus to skin corneocytes is mediated by surface protein G (SasG). Here, phylogenetic analyses reveal the presence of two major divergent SasG alleles in S.&nbsp;aureus: SasG-I and SasG-II. Structural analyses of SasG-II identify a nonaromatic arginine in the binding pocket of the lectin subdomain that mediates adhesion to corneocytes. Atomic force microscopy and corneocyte adhesion assays indicate that SasG-II can bind to a broader variety of ligands than SasG-I. Glycosidase treatment results in different binding profiles between SasG-I and SasG-II on skin cells. In addition, SasG-mediated adhesion is recapitulated using differentiated N/TERT keratinocytes. Our findings indicate that SasG-II has evolved to adhere to multiple ligands, conferring a distinct advantage to S.&nbsp;aureus during skin colonization.</p>