Intracellular Staphylococcus aureus elicits the production of host very long-chain saturated fatty acids with antimicrobial activity

Natalia Bravo-Santano, James K Ellis, Yolanda Calle-Patino, Hector C Keun, Volker Behrends, Michal Letek Polberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: As a facultative intracellular pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus is able to invade and proliferate within many types of mammalian cells. Intracellular bacterial replication relies on host nutrient supplies and, therefore, cell metabolism is closely bound to intracellular infection. Here, we investigated how S. aureus invasion affects the host membrane-bound fatty acids. We quantified the relative levels of fatty acids and their labelling pattern after intracellular infection by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Interestingly, we observed that the levels of three host fatty acids – docosanoic, eicosanoic and palmitic acids – were significantly increased in response to intracellular S. aureus infection. Accordingly, labelling carbon distribution was also affected in infected cells when compared to the uninfected control. In addition, treatment of HeLa cells with these three fatty acids showed a cytoprotective role by directly reducing S. aureus growth.
Original languageEnglish
Article number148
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2019

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