Staphylococcal immune evasion proteins: Structure, function, and host adaptation

Kirsten J. Koymans*, Manouk Vrieling, Ronald D. Gorham, Jos A.G. van Strijp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Staphylococcus aureus is a successful human and animal pathogen. Its pathogenicity is linked to its ability to secrete a large amount of virulence factors. These secreted proteins interfere with many critical components of the immune system, both innate and adaptive, and hamper proper immune functioning. In recent years, numerous studies have been conducted in order to understand the molecular mechanism underlying the interaction of evasion molecules with the host immune system. Structural studies have fundamentally contributed to our understanding of the mechanisms of action of the individual factors. Furthermore, such studies revealed one of the most striking characteristics of the secreted immune evasion molecules: their conserved structure. Despite high-sequence variability, most immune evasion molecules belong to a small number of structural categories. Another remarkable characteristic is that S. aureus carries most of these virulence factors on mobile genetic elements (MGE) or ex-MGE in its accessory genome. Coevolution of pathogen and host has resulted in immune evasion molecules with a highly host-specific function and prevalence. In this review, we explore how these shared structures and genomic locations relate to function and host specificity. This is discussed in the context of therapeutic options for these immune evasion molecules in infectious as well as in inflammatory diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStaphylococcus aureus
Subtitle of host publicationMicrobiology, Pathology, Immunology, Therapy and Prophylaxis
EditorsF. Bagnoli, R. Rappuoli, G. Grandi
Number of pages49
ISBN (Electronic)9783319720630
ISBN (Print)9783319720616
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Microbiology and Immunology
ISSN (Print)0070-217X
ISSN (Electronic)2196-9965


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