Activation of Human Platelets by Staphylococcus aureus Secreted Protease Staphopain A.
Infection by Staphylococcus aureus is the leading cause of infective endocarditis (IE). Activation of platelets by this pathogen results in their aggregation and thrombus formation which are considered to be important steps in the development and pathogenesis of IE. Here, we show that a secreted cysteine protease, staphopain A, activates human platelets and induces their aggregation. The culture supernatant of a scpA mutant deficient in staphopain A production was reduced in its ability to trigger platelet aggregation. The platelet agonist activity of purified staphopain A was inhibited by staphostatin A, a specific inhibitor, thus implicating its protease activity in the agonism. In whole blood, using concentrations of staphopain A that were otherwise insufficient to induce platelet aggregation, increased binding to collagen and thrombus formation was observed. Using antagonists specific to protease-activated receptors 1 and 4, we demonstrate their role in mediating staphopain A induced platelet activation.