Composition of staphylococcal bi-component toxins determines pathophysiological reactions

J Med Microbiol. 1997 Jun;46(6):479-85. doi: 10.1099/00222615-46-6-479.


Staphylococcus aureus produces numerous bi-component toxins, e.g., Panton-Valentine leukocidin (Luk-PVL) and gamma-haemolysin, which consist of type S and F proteins. Previous studies showed that Luk-PVL induces inflammatory mediator release from human granulocytes that might reflect the in-vivo effects, e.g., dermonecrosis by Luk-PVL. Clinical isolates not only harbour the two genes coding for Luk-PVL (S-protein: LukS-PVL, F-protein: LukF-PVL) but also the three genes encoding gamma-haemolysin (S-protein: HlgA, HlgB; F-protein: HlgC). The interaction of all the possible potential toxins with human granulocytes was studied with regard to the generation of oxygen metabolites (chemiluminescence response), enzyme activity (beta-glucuronidase) and histamine release as well as interleukin (IL)-8 generation. The data clearly show that the individual subunits (S, F) differ in their activities. The following activities were obtained for the S components: LukS-PVL > HlgC > HlgA; the F components LukF-PVL and HlgB were similarly active. Thus, the toxins LukS-PVL/LukF-PVL and LukS-PVL/HlgB were the most potent inducers of inflammatory mediator release from human granulocytes, followed by HlgC/LukF-PVL and HlgC/HlgB and to a lesser degree by the toxins HlgA/LukF-PVL and HlgA/HlgB. The data indicate that class S components and class F components are interchangeable and give toxins with genuine biological activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics
  • Bacterial Toxins / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Toxins / pharmacology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Coloring Agents
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Enzyme Induction / drug effects
  • Glucuronidase / metabolism
  • Granulocytes / drug effects
  • Granulocytes / metabolism*
  • Hemolysin Proteins / genetics
  • Hemolysin Proteins / pharmacology
  • Hemolysin Proteins / physiology*
  • Histamine Release / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-8 / metabolism
  • Leukocidins / genetics
  • Leukocidins / pharmacology
  • Leukocidins / physiology*
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism*
  • Trypan Blue


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Coloring Agents
  • Hemolysin Proteins
  • Interleukin-8
  • Leukocidins
  • gamma-hemolysin, Staphylococcus aureus
  • Glucuronidase
  • Trypan Blue