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Internalisation of Staphylococcus aureus in osteoblasts plays a critical role in the persistence and recurrence of osteomyelitis, the mechanisms involved in this process remain largely unknown. In the present study, evidence of internalised S. aureus in osteoblasts was found in long bone of haematogenous osteomyelitis in mice after 2 weeks of infection. Meanwhile, eliminating extracellular S. aureus by gentamicin can partially rescue bone loss, whereas the remaining intracellular S. aureus in osteoblasts may be associated with continuous bone destruction. In osteoblastic MC3T3 cells, intracellular S. aureus was detectable as early as 15 min after infection, and the internalisation rates increased with the extension of infection time. Additionally, S. aureus invasion stimulated the expression of phosphor-focal adhesion kinase (FAK), phosphor-epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and phosphor-c-Src in a time-dependent way, and blocking EGFR/FAK or c-Src signalling significantly reduced the internalisation rate of S. aureus in osteoblasts. Our findings provide new insights into the mechanism of S. aureus internalisation in osteoblast and raise the potential of targeting EGFR/FAK and c-Src as adjunctive therapeutics for treating chronic S. aureus osteomyelitis. © 2020 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Zhiguo Ji, Jianwen Su, Yilong Hou, Zilong Yao, Bin Yu, Xianrong Zhang. EGFR/FAK and c-Src signalling pathways mediate the internalisation of Staphylococcus aureus by osteoblasts. Cellular microbiology. 2020 Oct;22(10):e13240

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PMID: 32584493

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