Is Panton-Valentine Leukocidin the Major Virulence Determinant in Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Disease?

Voyich, Jovanka M.; Otto, Michael; Mathema, Barun; Braughton, Kevin R.; Whitney, Adeline R.; Welty, Diane; Long, R. Daniel; Dorward, David W.; Gardner, Donald J.; Lina, Gérard; Kreiswirth, Barry N.; DeLeo, Frank R.
December 2006
Journal of Infectious Diseases;12/15/2006, Vol. 194 Issue 12, p1761
Academic Journal
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) remains a major problem in hospitals, and it is now spreading in the community. A single toxin, Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL), has been linked by epidemiological studies to community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) disease. However, the role that PVL plays in the pathogenesis of CA-MRSA has not been tested directly. To that end, we used mouse infection models to compare the virulence of PVL-positive with that of PVL-negative CA-MRSA representing the leading diseasecausing strains. Unexpectedly, strains lacking PVL were as virulent in mouse sepsis and abscess models as those containing the leukotoxin. Isogenic PVL-negative (lukS/F-PV knockout) strains of USA300 and USA400 were as lethal as wild-type strains in a sepsis model, and they caused comparable skin disease. Moreover, lysis of human neutrophils and pathogen survival after phagocytosis were similar between wild-type and mutant strains. Although the toxin may be a highly linked epidemiological marker for CA-MRSA strains, we conclude that PVL is not the major virulence determinant of CA-MRSA.


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