Host Physiologic Changes Induced by Influenza A Virus Lead to Staphylococcus aureus Biofilm Dispersion and Transition from Asymptomatic Colonization to Invasive Disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


UNLABELLED: Staphylococcus aureus is a ubiquitous opportunistic human pathogen and a major health concern worldwide, causing a wide variety of diseases from mild skin infections to systemic disease. S. aureus is a major source of severe secondary bacterial pneumonia after influenza A virus infection, which causes widespread morbidity and mortality. While the phenomenon of secondary bacterial pneumonia is well established, the mechanisms behind the transition from asymptomatic colonization to invasive staphylococcal disease following viral infection remains unknown. In this report, we have shown that S. aureus biofilms, grown on an upper respiratory epithelial substratum, disperse in response to host physiologic changes related to viral infection, such as febrile range temperatures, exogenous ATP, norepinephrine, and increased glucose. Mice that were colonized with S. aureus and subsequently exposed to these physiologic stimuli or influenza A virus coinfection developed pronounced pneumonia. This study provides novel insight into the transition from colonization to invasive disease, providing a better understanding of the events involved in the pathogenesis of secondary staphylococcal pneumonia.

IMPORTANCE: In this study, we have determined that host physiologic changes related to influenza A virus infection causes S. aureus to disperse from a biofilm state. Additionally, we report that these same host physiologic changes promote S. aureus dissemination from the nasal tissue to the lungs in an animal model. Furthermore, this study identifies important aspects involved in the transition of S. aureus from asymptomatic colonization to pneumonia.


External organisations
  • University at Buffalo
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine


  • Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01235-16
Number of pages8
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 16
Publication categoryResearch