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Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), which is produced by the major human pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus, represents a powerful superantigenic toxin and is considered a bioweapon. However, the contribution of SEB to S. aureus pathogenesis has never been directly demonstrated with genetically defined mutants in clinically relevant strains. Many isolates of the predominant Asian community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus lineage sequence type (ST) 59 harbor seb, implying a significant role of SEB in the observed hypervirulence of this lineage. We created an isogenic seb mutant in a representative ST59 isolate and assessed its virulence potential in mouse infection models. We detected a significant contribution of seb to systemic ST59 infection that was associated with a cytokine storm. Our results directly demonstrate that seb contributes to S. aureus pathogenesis, suggesting the value of including SEB as a target in multipronged antistaphylococcal drug development strategies. Furthermore, they indicate that seb contributes to fatal exacerbation of community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus infection. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America 2020.


Justin S Bae, Fei Da, Ryan Liu, Lei He, Huiying Lv, Emilie L Fisher, Govindarajan Rajagopalan, Min Li, Gordon Y C Cheung, Michael Otto. Contribution of Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B to Staphylococcus aureus Systemic Infection. The Journal of infectious diseases. 2021 May 28;223(10):1766-1775

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PMID: 32937658

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