Staphylococcus aureus products subvert the Burkholderia cenocepacia-induced inflammatory response in airway epithelial cells

Yuan Ji, Albert Bolhuis, Malcolm L Watson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (SciVal)
72 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction. Chronic pulmonary infection is associated with colonization with multiple micro-organisms but host-microbe and microbe-microbe interactions are poorly understood.Aim. This study aims to investigate the differences in host responses to mono- and co-infection with S. aureus and B. cenocepacia in human airway epithelial cells.Methodology. We assessed the effect of co-infection with B. cenocepacia and S. aureus on host signalling and inflammatory responses in the human airway epithelial cell line 16HBE, using ELISA and western blot analysis.Results. The results show that B. cenocepacia activates MAPK and NF-κB signalling pathways, subsequently eliciting robust interleukin (IL)-8 production. However, when airway epithelial cells were co-treated with live B. cenocepacia bacteria and S. aureus supernatants (conditioned medium), the pro-inflammatory response was attenuated. This anti-inflammatory effect was widely exhibited in the S. aureus isolates tested and was mediated via reduced MAPK and NF-κB signalling, but not via IL-1 receptor or tumour necrosis factor receptor modulation. The staphylococcal effectors were characterized as small, heat-stable, non-proteinaceous and not cell wall-related factors.Conclusion. This study demonstrates for the first time the host response in a S. aureus/B. cenocepacia co-infection model and provides insight into a staphylococcal immune evasion mechanism, as well as a therapeutic intervention for excessive inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1813-1822
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue number12
Early online date1 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Burkholderia cepacia complex
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • host–pathogen interactions
  • immunomodulatory products

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Staphylococcus aureus products subvert the Burkholderia cenocepacia-induced inflammatory response in airway epithelial cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this