Coagulase-Negative Staphylococcal Strain Prevents Staphylococcus aureus Colonization and Skin Infection by Blocking Quorum Sensing

Cell Host Microbe. 2017 Dec 13;22(6):746-756.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2017.11.001. Epub 2017 Nov 30.


Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) and Staphylococcus aureus are part of the natural flora of humans and other mammals. We found that spent media from the CoNS species Staphylococcus caprae can inhibit agr-mediated quorum sensing by all classes of S. aureus. A biochemical assessment of the inhibitory activity suggested that the S. caprae autoinducing peptide (AIP) was responsible, and mass spectrometric analysis identified the S. caprae AIP as an eight-residue peptide (YSTCSYYF). Using a murine model of intradermal MRSA infection, the therapeutic efficacy of synthetic S. caprae AIP was evident by a dramatic reduction in both dermonecrotic injury and cutaneous bacterial burden relative to controls. Competition experiments between S. caprae and MRSA demonstrated a significant reduction in MRSA burden using murine models of both skin colonization and intradermal infection. Our findings indicate that important interactions occur between commensals that can impact disease outcomes and potentially shape the composition of the natural flora.

Keywords: AIP; CoNS; MRSA; Staphylococcus aureus; agr; coagulase-negative staphylococci; commensal; microbiome; quorum sensing.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibiosis*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mice
  • Peptides, Cyclic / chemistry
  • Peptides, Cyclic / metabolism
  • Quorum Sensing*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / prevention & control*
  • Staphylococcus / growth & development*


  • AgrD protein, Staphylococcus
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Peptides, Cyclic