Aiding and abetting Staphylococcus aureus

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Science  22 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6370, pp. 1552-1553
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6370.1552-b

Human skin hosts an ecosystem of microorganisms. Infections can therefore involve more than one organism, but antibiotic therapy options rarely consider the possibility of interference by a nontarget species. Staphylococcus aureus is a member of the normal skin microbiota that can show a spectrum of virulence and cause persistent and intractable infections. Radlinski et al. show that co-infections of S. aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa can synergize in multiple ways to antagonize or potentiate antibiotic susceptibility in S. aureus. P. aeruginosa secretes a series of secondary products in a strain-specific manner. Some, such as rhamnolipids or LasA endopeptidase, increase S. aureus susceptibility to antibiotics. Others, such as HQNO, induce multidrug tolerance and potentiate antibiotic resistance in S. aureus. Some of these interactions could theoretically be exploited to assist treatment, but the reciprocal effects of S. aureus on P. aeruginosa, coupled with strain variation, mean each case is different.

PLOS Biol. 10.1371/journal.pbio.2003981 (2017).

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