The human-pathogenic bacteria Staphylococcus saprophyticus is a leading cause of urinary tract infections and can be found in the environment, food, animals, and the human microbiome. Through the analysis of an ancient genome from a female at Troy and contemporary bacterial strains, McMaster’s Dr. Hendrik Poinar and researchers from the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin were able to identify a selective sweep in the gene encoding the Aas adhesin – a key virulence factor for S. saprophyticus that binds host fibronectin. The team hypothesized that this selective sweep facilitated bacterial colonization of the urinary tract, and may have enabled the emergence and large-scale demographic expansion of a human pathogenic lineage of S. saprophyticus. Such studies help us gain insight into the molecular basis of pathogenesis and aid our understanding of pathogen emergence.
Read the full publication in mSphere – an open access journal published by the American Society of Microbiology (ASM)