Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a major cause of severe endovascular infections which are frequently associated with bacterial dissemination to other organs and life-threatening complications such as infective endocarditis, osteomyelitis or abscess formation.
Damage to the endothelial barrier and bacterial extravasation are of vital importance in development of endovascular infections. Intercellular junctions are crucial for the integrity of the endothelial barrier; they are partially regulated by Src Family Protein-tyrosine Kinases. It has been well characterized that S. aureus fibronectin-binding proteins (FnBP) are decisive for adherence to and invasion of endothelial cells. Invasion is mediated by indirect bridging of fibronectin to α5β1-integrins via FnBPs. Invasive characteristics can be found in nearly all clinical isolates. Moreover, the link between expression of FnBPs and S. aureus dissemination into surrounding tissues has been demonstrated repeatedly in animal models. Despite the importance of S. aureus in endovascular diseases, the effect of S. aureus infection on endothelial barrier function and putative mechanisms for translocation have not yet been studied.
The aim of this thesis was to evaluate whether infection with different S. aureus and S. carnosus strains leads to impairment of endothelial integrity in EA.hy926 cells. Changes in transendothelial impedance and endothelial permeability upon infection were measured using the xCELLigence- or transwell-system respectively. Cytotoxic effects were quantified by crystal violet staining, immunofluorescence staining of nuclei and mitochondria as well as by detection of hypodiploid nuclei using flow cytometry. Immunofluorescence staining of ZO-1 and VE—Cadherin was performed to investigate morphological alterations in intercellular junctions. The role of Src Family Protein-tyrosine Kinases was analyzed by pharmacological inhibition.
In this study it was demonstrated that S. aureus strains expressing FnBPs lead to a decrease in transendothelial impedance and cause a significant increase in endothelial permeability 4 and 24 hours after infection. Whereas cytotoxic effects were observed after 24 hours, cells were completely viable 4 hours after infection. After 4 hours FnBP-dependent conformational changes of VE-cadherin and ZO-1 as well as a loss of signal intensity were detected. Furthermore, the FnBP-mediated increase in endothelial permeability was significantly reduced by using Src Family Protein-tyrosine Kinases-inhibitors.
In this study it was shown for the first time that S. aureus FnBPs cause an increase in endothelial permeability. While apoptosis is the underlying mechanism 24 hours after infection, other mechanisms could be identified for the time point 4 hours. Since a loss of signal intensity of ZO-1 and VE-Cadherin was detected, it can be assumed that adherence and tight junctions are impaired upon infection. It has been well characterized that Src Family Protein-tyrosine Kinases are activated upon S. aureus infection and that they are decisive in regulation of endothelial permeability. This effect is mediated by phosphorylation of adherence and tight junction proteins. Hence a Src Family Protein-tyrosine Kinase-mediated phosphorylation of intercellular junction proteins is a conceivable mechanism for the observed change in ZO-1 and VE-cadherin, thus possibly enabling paracellular traverse of the endothelial barrier. On the other hand the increase of endothelial permeability could facilitate access to the extracellular matrix and thus to the biggest pool of fibronectin and integrins, hence promoting bacterial invasion and transcytosis.
The obtained results help to understand the complex interaction between S. aureus and endothelial barrier, thus facilitating the understanding of the pathogenesis of endovascular S. aureus infections and possibly identifying new therapy targets.
|Advisor:||Schubert-Unkmeir , Alexandra|
|School:||Bayerische Julius-Maximilians-Universitaet Wuerzburg (Germany)|
|Source:||DAI-C 81/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
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