Coordinated Molecular Cross-Talk between Staphylococcus aureus, Endothelial Cells and Platelets in Bloodstream Infection.

Staphylococcus aureus is an opportunistic pathogen often carried asymptomatically on the human body. Upon entry to the otherwise sterile environment of the cardiovascular system, S. aureus can lead to serious complications resulting in organ failure and death. The success of S. aureus as a pathogen in the bloodstream is due to its ability to express a wide array of cell wall proteins on its surface that recognise host receptors, extracellular matrix proteins and plasma proteins. Endothelial cells and platelets are important cells in the cardiovascular system and are a major target of bloodstream infection. Endothelial cells form the inner lining of a blood vessel and provide an antithrombotic barrier between the vessel wall and blood. Platelets on the other hand travel throughout the cardiovascular system and respond by aggregating around the site of injury and initiating clot formation. Activation of either of these cells leads to functional dysregulation in the cardiovascular system. In this review, we will illustrate how S. aureus establish intimate interactions with both endothelial cells and platelets leading to cardiovascular dysregulation.