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Look Who’s Talking: Host and pathogen drivers of staphylococcus epidermidis virulence in neonatal sepsis

Joubert, I.A., Otto, M., Strunk, T. and Currie, A.J. (2022) Look Who’s Talking: Host and pathogen drivers of staphylococcus epidermidis virulence in neonatal sepsis. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23 (2). Article 860.

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Abstract

Preterm infants are at increased risk for invasive neonatal bacterial infections. S. epidermidis, a ubiquitous skin commensal, is a major cause of late-onset neonatal sepsis, particularly in high-resource settings. The vulnerability of preterm infants to serious bacterial infections is commonly attributed to their distinct and developing immune system. While developmentally immature immune defences play a large role in facilitating bacterial invasion, this fails to explain why only a subset of infants develop infections with low-virulence organisms when exposed to similar risk factors in the neonatal ICU. Experimental research has explored potential virulence mechanisms contributing to the pathogenic shift of commensal S. epidermidis strains. Furthermore, comparative genomics studies have yielded insights into the emergence and spread of nosocomial S. epidermidis strains, and their genetic and functional characteristics implicated in invasive disease in neonates. These studies have highlighted the multifactorial nature of S. epidermidis traits relating to pathogenicity and commensalism. In this review, we discuss the known host and pathogen drivers of S. epidermidis virulence in neonatal sepsis and provide future perspectives to close the gap in our understanding of S. epidermidis as a cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Centre for Molecular Medicine and Innovative Therapeutics (CMMIT)
Publisher: MDPI
Copyright: © 2022 by the authors
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/63646
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