IgA and staphyloccocal aureus immune evasion

Staphylococcus aureus is a major human pathogen causing conditions ranging from superficial skin infections to life threatening deep infections, pneumonia and sepsis.

The virulence of community-acquired infections and the increasing prevalence of methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) underscores the need for better understanding of how S. aureus establishes infection.

About 25% of people carry S. aureus asymptomatically in the nose which, like other mucosal sites, is protected by secretory IgA. S. aureus produces numerous factors that subvert the host immune system. One of these is SSL7, staphylococcal superantigen-like 7, which binds host IgA between the CH2 and CH3 domains of the Fc region. This site also interacts with the polymeric Ig receptor which is responsible for the transport of SIgA to mucosal surfaces.

This project asks if SSL7 binding to IgA prevents its transport by the polymeric Ig receptor. This would provide a mechanism for S. aureus to colonise a mucosal surface and avoid SIgA mediated immunity.


Contact Details

For any general enquiries relating to this project, please contact:

Professor Mark Hogarth

Head, Immune Therapies Group