In their recently published study, Xiongqi Ding et al. (Team Pathogenesis of systemic infections) shed light on a critical aspect of chronic lung diseases : how the airway environment influences the behavior of S. aureus, a key player in these infections, particularly cystic fibrosis (CF).
The study explores how S. aureus, a common opportunistic pathogen, adapts to the lungs of CF patients.
Key discoveries include convergent evolution in S. aureus, with significant genetic changes at the agr locus, leading to quorum-sensing dysfunction. This adaptation is linked to increased biofilm formation and improved stress resistance. Additionaly, lung-adapted S. aureus variants with Agr dysfunction demonstrate an enhanced ability to use sialic acid, offering growth advantages and triggering chronic virulence programs. Moreover, these findings are correlated with the presence of S. aureus, sialidase-producing microbiota, and free sialic acid in CF patients’ airways.
These insights not only deepen our understanding of S. aureus's role in chronic lung infections but also highlight the the complex interactions between pathogens and host environments in CF. This research paves the way for new therapeutic strategies targeting pathogen adaptation.
Read the full paper in Nature Communications: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-43863-2#citeas