Bovine Staphylococcus aureus superantigens stimulate the entire T 2 cell repertoire of cattle.

Gillian Wilson, Stephen Tuffs, Bryan A. Wee, Keun Seok Seo, Nogi Park, Timothy Connelley, Caitriona M Guinane, William Morrison, Jonathan Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Superantigens (SAgs) represent a diverse family of bacterial toxins that induce Vβ-specific T cell proliferation associated with an array of important diseases in humans and animals, including mastitis of dairy cows. However, an understanding of the diversity and distribution of SAg genes among bovine Staphylococcus aureus and their role in the pathogenesis of mastitis is lacking. Population genomic analysis of 195 bovine S. aureus isolates representing 57 unique sequence types revealed that strains encode 2 to 12 distinct SAgs and that the majority of isolates contain 5 or more SAg genes. A genome-scale analysis of bovine reference strain RF122 revealed a complement of 11 predicted SAg genes, which were all expressed in vitro. Detection of specific antibodies in convalescent cows suggests expression of 7 of 11 SAgs during natural S. aureus infection. We determined the Vβ T cell activation profile for all functional SAgs encoded by RF122 revealing evidence for bovine host-specific activity among recently identified RF122-encoded SAgs SElY and SElZ. Remarkably, we discovered that some strains have evolved the capacity to stimulate the entire T‐cell repertoire of cattle through an array of diverse SAgs suggesting a key
role in bovine immune evasion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number11
Early online date25 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Bovine Staphylococcus aureus superantigens stimulate the entire T 2 cell repertoire of cattle.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this