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The cell wall of gram-positive bacteria is a complex network of surface proteins, capsular polysaccharides and wall teichoic acids (WTA) covalently linked to Peptidoglycan (PG). The absence of WTA has been associated with a reduced pathogenicity of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). Here, we assessed whether this was due to increased detection of PG, an important target of innate immune receptors. Antibiotic-mediated or genetic inhibition of WTA production in S. aureus led to increased binding of the non-lytic PG Recognition Protein-SA (PGRP-SA), and this was associated with a reduction in host susceptibility to infection. Moreover, PGRP-SD, another innate sensor required to control wild type S. aureus infection, became redundant. Our data imply that by using WTA to limit access of innate immune receptors to PG, under-detected bacteria are able to establish an infection and ultimately overwhelm the host. We propose that different PGRPs work in concert to counter this strategy.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.ppat.1002421

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS Pathog

Publication Date

12/2011

Volume

7

Keywords

Animals, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Carrier Proteins, Cell Wall, Drosophila Proteins, Drosophila melanogaster, Immunity, Innate, Peptidoglycan, Staphylococcal Infections, Staphylococcus aureus, Teichoic Acids