Contribution of coagulases towards Staphylococcus aureus disease and protective immunity

PLoS Pathog. 2010 Aug 5;6(8):e1001036. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001036.


The bacterial pathogen Staphylococcus aureus seeds abscesses in host tissues to replicate at the center of these lesions, protected from host immune cells via a pseudocapsule. Using histochemical staining, we identified prothrombin and fibrin within abscesses and pseudocapsules. S. aureus secretes two clotting factors, coagulase (Coa) and von Willebrand factor binding protein (vWbp). We report here that Coa and vWbp together are required for the formation of abscesses. Coa and vWbp promote the non-proteolytic activation of prothrombin and cleavage of fibrinogen, reactions that are inhibited with specific antibody against each of these molecules. Coa and vWbp specific antibodies confer protection against abscess formation and S. aureus lethal bacteremia, suggesting that coagulases function as protective antigens for a staphylococcal vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abscess / enzymology
  • Abscess / microbiology*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Coagulase / immunology
  • Coagulase / metabolism*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Staphylococcal Infections / enzymology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / pathogenicity*
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance


  • Antibodies
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Coagulase