Attenuated Virulence and Biofilm Formation in Staphylococcus aureus following Sublethal Exposure to Triclosan

Latimer, J ORCID:, Forbes, S and McBain, AJ 2012, 'Attenuated Virulence and Biofilm Formation in Staphylococcus aureus following Sublethal Exposure to Triclosan' , Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 56 (6) , pp. 3092-3100.

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Subeffective exposure of Staphylococcus aureus to the biocide triclosan can reportedly induce a small-colony variant (SCV) phenotype. S. aureus SCVs are characterized by low growth rates, reduced pigmentation, and lowered antimicrobial susceptibility. While they may exhibit enhanced intracellular survival, there are conflicting reports regarding their pathogenicity. The current study reports the characteristics of an SCV-like strain of S. aureus created by repeated passage on sublethal triclosan concentrations. S. aureus ATCC 6538 (the passage 0 [P0] strain) was serially exposed 10 times to concentration gradients of triclosan to generate strain P10. This strain was then further passaged 10 times on triclosan-free medium (designated strain ×10). The MICs and minimum bactericidal concentrations of triclosan for P0, P10, and ×10 were determined, and growth rates in biofilm and planktonic cultures were measured. Hemolysin, DNase, and coagulase activities were measured, and virulence was determined using a Galleria mellonella pathogenicity model. Strain P10 exhibited decreased susceptibility to triclosan and characteristics of an SCV phenotype, including a considerably reduced growth rate and the formation of pinpoint colonies. However, this strain also had delayed coagulase production, had impaired hemolysis (P < 0.01), was defective in biofilm formation and DNase activity, and displayed significantly attenuated virulence. Colony size, hemolysis, coagulase activity, and virulence were only partially restored in strain ×10, whereas the planktonic growth rate was fully restored. However, ×10 was at least as defective in biofilm formation and DNase production as P10. These data suggest that although repeated exposure to triclosan may result in an SCV-like phenotype, this is not necessarily associated with increased virulence and adapted bacteria may exhibit other functional deficiencies.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Journal or Publication Title: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Publisher: American Society for Microbiology
ISSN: 0066-4804
Related URLs:
Funders: University of Manchester
Depositing User: J Latimer
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2016 10:33
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:29

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