Staphylococcus aureus is both a prominent cause of nosocomial infections with significant morbidity and mortality and a commensal with nasal carriage in around 30% of the population. The rapid spread of multi-resistant strains necessitates novel therapeutic strategies, a challenging task because the species S. aureus and the host response against it are highly variable. In a prospective study among 2023 surgical and non-surgical patients, 12 patients developed S. aureus bacteremia. They were analysed in detail using a personalized approach. For each patient, the extracellular proteins of the infecting S. aureus strain were identified and the developing antibody response was assessed on 2-D immunoblots. S. aureus carriers showed clear evidence of strain-specific pre-immunization. In all immune-competent bacteremia patients, antibody binding increased strongly, in most cases already at diagnosis. In endogenous infections, the pattern of antibody binding was similar to the pre-infection pattern. In exogenous infections, in contrast, the pre-infection pattern was radically altered with the acquisition of new specificities. These were characteristic for individual patients. Nevertheless, a common signature of 11 conserved S. aureus proteins, recognized in at least half of the bacteremic patients, was identified. All patients mounted a dynamic antibody response to a subset of these proteins.

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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Kolata, J., Bode, L., Holtfreter, S., Steil, L., Kusch, H., Albrecht, D., … Bröker, B. (2011). Distinctive patterns in the human antibody response to Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia in carriers and non-carriers. Proteomics, 11(19), 3914–3927. doi:10.1002/pmic.201000760