Title (eng)

Cross-species communication via agr controls phage susceptibility in Staphylococcus aureus


Jingxian Yang   University of Copenhagen

Hanne Ingmer   University of Copenhagen

Andreas Peschel   University of Tübingen / German Center for Infection Research

Tom Grunert   University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna

Martin Saxtorph Bojer   University of Copenhagen

Stephanie Fulaz Silva   University of Copenhagen

Janine Zara Bowring   University of Copenhagen

Janes Krusche   University of Tübingen / German Center for Infection Research

Esther Lehmann   University of Copenhagen

Benjamin Svejdal Bejder   University of Copenhagen


Cell Press

Description (eng)

Bacteria use quorum sensing (QS) to coordinate group behavior in response to cell density, and some bacterial viruses (phages) also respond to QS. In Staphylococcus aureus, the agr-encoded QS system relies on accumulation of auto-inducing cyclic peptides (AIPs). Other staphylococci also produce AIPs of which many inhibit S. aureus agr. We show that agr induction reduces expression of tarM, encoding a glycosyltransferase responsible for α-N-acetylglucosamine modification of the major S. aureus phage receptor, the wall teichoic acids. This allows lytic phage Stab20 and related phages to infect and kill S. aureus. However, in mixed communities, producers of inhibitory AIPs like S. haemolyticus, S. caprae, and S. pseudintermedius inhibit S. aureus agr, thereby impeding phage infection. Our results demonstrate that cross-species interactions dramatically impact phage susceptibility. These interactions likely influence microbial ecology and impact the efficacy of phages in medical and biotechnological applications such as phage therapy.

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International



Humans; Staphylococcus aureusmetabolism; Bacteriophagesmetabolism; Staphylococcusmetabolism; Glycosyltransferasesmetabolism; Staphylococcal Infections; Bacterial Proteinsmetabolism; Quorum Sensing

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o:605 Publications / University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna