Novel method for detecting complement C3 deposition on Staphylococcus aureus

Toska Wonfor, Shuxian Li, Rhys Dunphy, Alex Macpherson, Jean Van Den Elsen, Maisem Laabei

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The primary host response to Staphylococcus aureus infection occurs via complement. Complement is an elegant evolutionarily conserved system, playing essential roles in early defences by working in concert with immune cells to survey, label and destroy microbial intruders and coordinate inflammation. Currently the exact mechanisms employed by S. aureus to manipulate and evade complement is not clear and is hindered by the lack of accurate molecular tools that can report on complement deposition on the bacterial surface. Current gold-standard detection methods employ labelled complement-specific antibodies and flow cytometry to determine complement deposited on bacteria. These methods are restricted by virtue of the expression of the S. aureus immunoglobulin binding proteins, Protein A and Sbi. In this study we describe the use of a novel antibody-independent C3 probe derived from the staphylococcal Sbi protein, specifically Sbi-IV domain. Here we show that biotin-labelled Sbi-IV interacts specifically with deposited C3 products on the staphylococcal surface and thus can be used to measure complement fixation on wild-type cells expressing a full repertoire of immune evasion proteins. Lastly, our data indicates that genetically diverse S. aureus strains restrict complement to different degrees suggesting that complement evasion is a variable virulence trait among S. aureus isolates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15766
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date21 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022


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