Scientists at the NYU Langone Medical Center report the discovery of a novel mechanism by which Staphylococcus aureus bacteria attack and kill off immune cells. They say their findings “Staphylococcus aureus Leukotoxin ED Targets the Chemokine Receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2 to Kill Leukocytes and Promote Infection”, published today in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, explain a critical survival tactic of a pathogen that causes more skin and heart infections than any other microbe, and kills more than 100,000 Americans every year.
“The Staphylococcus aureus leukotoxin ED LukED is a pore-forming toxin required for the lethality associated with bacteremia in murine models,” wrote the researchers. “LukED targets the chemokine receptor CCR5 to kill T lymphocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. LukED also kills CCR5-deficient cells like neutrophils, suggesting the existence of additional cellular receptors. Here we identify the chemokine receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2 as the targets of LukED on neutrophils.”