• Adaptation of Dinoroseobacter shibae to oxidative stress and the specific role of RirA.

      Beier, Nicole; Kucklick, Martin; Fuchs, Stephan; Mustafayeva, Ayten; Behringer, Maren; Härtig, Elisabeth; Jahn, Dieter; Engelmann, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (PLOS, 2021-03-29)
      Dinoroseobacter shibae living in the photic zone of marine ecosystems is frequently exposed to oxygen that forms highly reactive species. Here, we analysed the adaptation of D. shibae to different kinds of oxidative stress using a GeLC-MS/MS approach. D. shibae was grown in artificial seawater medium in the dark with succinate as sole carbon source and exposed to hydrogen peroxide, paraquat or diamide. We quantified 2580 D. shibae proteins. 75 proteins changed significantly in response to peroxide stress, while 220 and 207 proteins were differently regulated by superoxide stress and thiol stress. As expected, proteins like thioredoxin and peroxiredoxin were among these proteins. In addition, proteins involved in bacteriochlophyll biosynthesis were repressed under disulfide and superoxide stress but not under peroxide stress. In contrast, proteins associated with iron transport accumulated in response to peroxide and superoxide stress. Interestingly, the iron-responsive regulator RirA in D. shibae was downregulated by all stressors. A rirA deletion mutant showed an improved adaptation to peroxide stress suggesting that RirA dependent proteins are associated with oxidative stress resistance. Altogether, 139 proteins were upregulated in the mutant strain. Among them are proteins associated with protection and repair of DNA and proteins (e. g. ClpB, Hsp20, RecA, and a thioredoxin like protein). Strikingly, most of the proteins involved in iron metabolism such as iron binding proteins and transporters were not part of the upregulated proteins. In fact, rirA deficient cells were lacking a peroxide dependent induction of these proteins that may also contribute to a higher cell viability under these conditions.
    • Costs of life - Dynamics of the protein inventory of Staphylococcus aureus during anaerobiosis.

      Zühlke, Daniela; Dörries, Kirsten; Bernhardt, Jörg; Maaß, Sandra; Muntel, Jan; Liebscher, Volkmar; Pané-Farré, Jan; Riedel, Katharina; Lalk, Michael; Völker, Uwe; et al. (2016)
      Absolute protein quantification was applied to follow the dynamics of the cytoplasmic proteome of Staphylococcus aureus in response to long-term oxygen starvation. For 1,168 proteins, the majority of all expressed proteins, molecule numbers per cell have been determined to monitor the cellular investments in single branches of bacterial life for the first time. In the presence of glucose the anaerobic protein pattern is characterized by increased amounts of glycolytic and fermentative enzymes such as Eno, GapA1, Ldh1, and PflB. Interestingly, the ferritin-like protein FtnA belongs to the most abundant proteins during anaerobic growth. Depletion of glucose finally leads to an accumulation of different enzymes such as ArcB1, ArcB2, and ArcC2 involved in arginine deiminase pathway. Concentrations of 29 exo- and 78 endometabolites were comparatively assessed and have been integrated to the metabolic networks. Here we provide an almost complete picture on the response to oxygen starvation, from signal transduction pathways to gene expression pattern, from metabolic reorganization after oxygen depletion to beginning cell death and lysis after glucose exhaustion. This experimental approach can be considered as a proof of principle how to combine cell physiology with quantitative proteomics for a new dimension in understanding simple life processes as an entity.
    • Determining the bacterial cell biology of Planctomycetes.

      Boedeker, Christian; Schüler, Margarete; Reintjes, Greta; Jeske, Olga; van Teeseling, Muriel C F; Jogler, Mareike; Rast, Patrick; Borchert, Daniela; Devos, Damien P; Kucklick, Martin; et al. (2017-04-10)
      Bacteria of the phylum Planctomycetes have been previously reported to possess several features that are typical of eukaryotes, such as cytosolic compartmentalization and endocytosis-like macromolecule uptake. However, recent evidence points towards a Gram-negative cell plan for Planctomycetes, although in-depth experimental analysis has been hampered by insufficient genetic tools. Here we develop methods for expression of fluorescent proteins and for gene deletion in a model planctomycete, Planctopirus limnophila, to analyse its cell organization in detail. Super-resolution light microscopy of mutants, cryo-electron tomography, bioinformatic predictions and proteomic analyses support an altered Gram-negative cell plan for Planctomycetes, including a defined outer membrane, a periplasmic space that can be greatly enlarged and convoluted, and an energized cytoplasmic membrane. These conclusions are further supported by experiments performed with two other Planctomycetes, Gemmata obscuriglobus and Rhodopirellula baltica. We also provide experimental evidence that is inconsistent with endocytosis-like macromolecule uptake; instead, extracellular macromolecules can be taken up and accumulate in the periplasmic space through unclear mechanisms.
    • Development and evaluation of a milk protein transcript depletion method for differential transcriptome analysis in mammary gland tissue.

      Brodhagen, Johanna; Weikard, Rosemarie; Thom, Ulrike; Heimes, Annika; Günther, Juliane; Hadlich, Frieder; Zerbe, Holm; Petzl, Wolfgang; Meyerholz, Marie M; Hoedemaker, Martina; et al. (BioMed Central (BMC), 2019-05-22)
      Background: In the mammary gland transcriptome of lactating dairy cows genes encoding milk proteins are highly abundant, which can impair the detection of lowly expressed transcripts and can bias the outcome in global transcriptome analyses. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a method to deplete extremely highly expressed transcripts in mRNA from lactating mammary gland tissue. Results: Selective RNA depletion was performed by hybridization of antisense oligonucleotides targeting genes encoding the caseins (CSN1S1, CSN1S2, CSN2 and CSN3) and whey proteins (LALBA and PAEP) within total RNA followed by RNase H-mediated elimination of the respective transcripts. The effect of the RNA depletion procedure was monitored by RNA sequencing analysis comparing depleted and non-depleted RNA samples from Escherichia coli (E. coli) challenged and non-challenged udder tissue of lactating cows in a proof of principle experiment. Using RNase H-mediated RNA depletion, the ratio of highly abundant milk protein gene transcripts was reduced in all depleted samples by an average of more than 50% compared to the non-depleted samples. Furthermore, the sensitivity for discovering transcripts with marginal expression levels and transcripts not yet annotated was improved. Finally, the sensitivity to detect significantly differentially expressed transcripts between non-challenged and challenged udder tissue was increased without leading to an inadvertent bias in the pathogen challengeassociated biological signaling pathway patterns. Conclusions: The implementation of selective RNase H-mediated RNA depletion of milk protein gene transcripts from the mammary gland transcriptome of lactating cows will be highly beneficial to establish comprehensive transcript catalogues of the tissue that better reflects its transcriptome complexity.
    • Dinoroseobacter shibae Outer Membrane Vesicles Are Enriched for the Chromosome Dimer Resolution Site dif.

      Wang, Hui; Beier, Nicole; Boedeker, Christian; Sztajer, Helena; Henke, Petra; Neumann-Schaal, Meina; Mansky, Johannes; Rohde, Manfred; Overmann, Jörg; Petersen, Jörn; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-01-12)
      Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are universally produced by prokaryotes and play important roles in symbiotic and pathogenic interactions. They often contain DNA, but a mechanism for its incorporation is lacking. Here, we show that Dinoroseobacter shibae, a dinoflagellate symbiont, constitutively secretes OMVs containing DNA. Time-lapse microscopy captured instances of multiple OMV production at the septum during cell division. DNA from the vesicle lumen was up to 22-fold enriched for the region around the terminus of replication (ter). The peak of coverage was located at dif, a conserved 28-bp palindromic sequence required for binding of the site-specific tyrosine recombinases XerC/XerD. These enzymes are activated at the last stage of cell division immediately prior to septum formation when they are bound by the divisome protein FtsK. We suggest that overreplicated regions around the terminus have been repaired by the FtsK-dif-XerC/XerD molecular machinery. The vesicle proteome was clearly dominated by outer membrane and periplasmic proteins. Some of the most abundant vesicle membrane proteins were predicted to be required for direct interaction with peptidoglycan during cell division (LysM, Tol-Pal, Spol, lytic murein transglycosylase). OMVs were 15-fold enriched for the saturated fatty acid 16:00. We hypothesize that constitutive OMV secretion in D. shibae is coupled to cell division. The footprint of the FtsK-dif-XerC/XerD molecular machinery suggests a novel potentially highly conserved route for incorporation of DNA into OMVs. Clearing the division site from small DNA fragments might be an important function of vesicles produced during exponential growth under optimal conditions.IMPORTANCE Gram-negative bacteria continually form vesicles from their outer membrane (outer membrane vesicles [OMVs]) during normal growth. OMVs frequently contain DNA, and it is unclear how DNA can be shuffled from the cytoplasm to the OMVs. We studied OMV cargo in Dinoroseobacter shibae, a symbiont of dinoflagellates, using microscopy and a multi-omics approach. We found that vesicles formed during undisturbed exponential growth contain DNA which is enriched for genes around the replication terminus, specifically, the binding site for an enzyme complex that is activated at the last stage of cell division. We suggest that the enriched genes are the result of overreplication which is repaired by their excision and excretion via membrane vesicles to clear the divisome from waste DNA.
    • Elimination of Staphylococcus aureus from the bloodstream using a novel biomimetic sorbent haemoperfusion device.

      Seffer, Malin-Theres; Eden, Gabriele; Engelmann, Susanne; Kielstein, Jan T (2020-08-24)
      Removal of bacteria from the blood by means of extracorporeal techniques has been attempted for decades. In late 2019, the European Union licensed the first ever haemoperfusion device for removal of bacteria from the blood. The active ingredient of Seraph 100 Microbind Affinity Blood Filter is ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene beads with endpoint-attached heparin. Bacteria have been shown to bind to heparin as they would usually do to the heparan sulfate on the cell surface, thereby being removed from the blood stream. We describe the first case of a female chronic haemodialysis patient in which this device was clinically used for a Staphylococcus aureus infection that persisted for 4 days despite antibiotic therapy. After a single treatment, the bacterial load decreased and the blood cultures at the end of a 4 hour haemoperfusion exhibited no bacterial growth.
    • Extracellular milieu grossly alters pathogen-specific immune response of mammary epithelial cells.

      Bauer, Isabel; Günther, Juliane; Wheeler, Thomas T; Engelmann, Susanne; Seyfert, Hans-Martin; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (2015)
      Considerably divergent data have been published from attempts to model the E. coli vs. S. aureus specific immune reaction of the udder using primary cultures of bovine mammary epithelial cells from cows (pbMEC). Some groups reported a swift, strong and transient inflammatory response against challenges with E. coli and only a weak and retarded response against S. aureus, in agreement with the respective reaction of the udder. Others found almost the reverse. Presence or absence of fetal calf serum distinguished the experimental setting between both groups. We examined here if this causes the divergent reaction of the pbMEC towards both pathogen species. We challenged pbMEC with proteins from heat killed E. coli or S. aureus pathogens or purified TLR2 and TLR4 ligands. The stimuli were applied in normal growth medium with (SM10) or without (SM0) 10% fetal calf serum, or in the basal medium supplemented with 10 mg/ml milk proteins (SM Milk).
    • Global antibody response to Staphylococcus aureus live-cell vaccination.

      Selle, Martina; Hertlein, Tobias; Oesterreich, Babett; Klemm, Theresa; Kloppot, Peggy; Müller, Elke; Ehricht, Ralf; Stentzel, Sebastian; Bröker, Barbara M; Engelmann, Susanne; et al. (2016)
      The pathogen Staphylococcus aureus causes a broad range of severe diseases and is feared for its ability to rapidly develop resistance to antibiotic substances. The increasing number of highly resistant S. aureus infections has accelerated the search for alternative treatment options to close the widening gap in anti-S. aureus therapy. This study analyses the humoral immune response to vaccination of Balb/c mice with sublethal doses of live S. aureus. The elicited antibody pattern in the sera of intravenously and intramuscularly vaccinated mice was determined using of a recently developed protein array. We observed a specific antibody response against a broad set of S. aureus antigens which was stronger following i.v. than i.m. vaccination. Intravenous but not intramuscular vaccination protected mice against an intramuscular challenge infection with a high bacterial dose. Vaccine protection was correlated with the strength of the anti-S. aureus antibody response. This study identified novel vaccine candidates by using protein microarrays as an effective tool and showed that successful vaccination against S. aureus relies on the optimal route of administration.
    • Hepatic Transcriptome Analysis Identifies Divergent Pathogen-Specific Targeting-Strategies to Modulate the Innate Immune System in Response to Intramammary Infection.

      Heimes, Annika; Brodhagen, Johanna; Weikard, Rosemarie; Seyfert, Hans-Martin; Becker, Doreen; Meyerholz, Marie M; Petzl, Wolfram; Zerbe, Holm; Hoedemaker, Martina; Rohmeier, Laura; et al. (Frontiers, 2020-04-29)
      Mastitis is one of the major risks for public health and animal welfare in the dairy industry. Two of the most important pathogens to cause mastitis in dairy cattle are Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) and Escherichia coli (E. coli). While S. aureus generally induces a chronic and subclinical mastitis, E. coli is an important etiological pathogen resulting in an acute and clinical mastitis. The liver plays a central role in both, the metabolic and inflammatory physiology of the dairy cow, which is particularly challenged in the early lactation due to high metabolic and immunological demands. In the current study, we challenged the mammary glands of Holstein cows with S. aureus or E. coli, respectively, mimicking an early lactation infection. We compared the animals' liver transcriptomes with those of untreated controls to investigate the hepatic response of the individuals. Both, S. aureus and E. coli elicited systemic effects on the host after intramammary challenge and seemed to use pathogen-specific targeting strategies to bypass the innate immune system. The most striking result of our study is that we demonstrate for the first time that S. aureus intramammary challenge causes an immune response beyond the original local site of the mastitis. We found that in the peripheral liver tissue defined biological pathways are switched on in a coordinated manner to balance the immune response in the entire organism. TGFB1 signaling plays a crucial role in this context. Important pathways involving actin and integrin, key components of the cytoskeleton, were downregulated in the liver of S. aureus infected cows. In the hepatic transcriptome of E. coli infected cows, important components of the complement system were significantly lower expressed compared to the control cows. Notably, while S. aureus inhibits the cell signaling by Rho GTPases in the liver, E. coli switches the complement system off. Also, metabolic hepatic pathways (e.g., lipid metabolism) are affected after mammary gland challenge, demonstrating that the liver restricts metabolic tasks in favor of the predominant immune response after infection. Our results provide new insights for the infection-induced modifications of the dairy cow's hepatic transcriptome following mastitis.
    • Human antibody responses against non-covalently cell wall-bound Staphylococcus aureus proteins.

      Romero Pastrana, Francisco; Neef, Jolanda; Koedijk, Dennis G A M; de Graaf, Douwe; Duipmans, José; Jonkman, Marcel F; Engelmann, Susanne; van Dijl, Jan Maarten; Buist, Girbe; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-02-19)
      Human antibody responses to pathogens, like Staphylococcus aureus, are important indicators for in vivo expression and immunogenicity of particular bacterial components. Accordingly, comparing the antibody responses to S. aureus components may serve to predict their potential applicability as antigens for vaccination. The present study was aimed at assessing immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses elicited by non-covalently cell surface-bound proteins of S. aureus, which thus far received relatively little attention. To this end, we applied plasma samples from patients with the genetic blistering disease epidermolysis bullosa (EB) and healthy S. aureus carriers. Of note, wounds of EB patients are highly colonized with S. aureus and accordingly these patients are more seriously exposed to staphylococcal antigens than healthy individuals. Ten non-covalently cell surface-bound proteins of S. aureus, namely Atl, Eap, Efb, EMP, IsaA, LukG, LukH, SA0710, Sle1 and SsaA2, were selected by bioinformatics and biochemical approaches. These antigens were recombinantly expressed, purified and tested for specific IgG responses using human plasma. We show that high exposure of EB patients to S. aureus is mirrored by elevated IgG levels against all tested non-covalently cell wall-bound staphylococcal antigens. This implies that these S. aureus cell surface proteins are prime targets for the human immune system.
    • smORFer: a modular algorithm to detect small ORFs in prokaryotes.

      Bartholomäus, Alexander; Kolte, Baban; Mustafayeva, Ayten; Goebel, Ingrid; Fuchs, Stephan; Benndorf, Dirk; Engelmann, Susanne; Ignatova, Zoya; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Oxford Academic, 2021-06-14)
      Emerging evidence places small proteins (≤50 amino acids) more centrally in physiological processes. Yet, their functional identification and the systematic genome annotation of their cognate small open-reading frames (smORFs) remains challenging both experimentally and computationally. Ribosome profiling or Ribo-Seq (that is a deep sequencing of ribosome-protected fragments) enables detecting of actively translated open-reading frames (ORFs) and empirical annotation of coding sequences (CDSs) using the in-register translation pattern that is characteristic for genuinely translating ribosomes. Multiple identifiers of ORFs that use the 3-nt periodicity in Ribo-Seq data sets have been successful in eukaryotic smORF annotation. They have difficulties evaluating prokaryotic genomes due to the unique architecture (e.g. polycistronic messages, overlapping ORFs, leaderless translation, non-canonical initiation etc.). Here, we present a new algorithm, smORFer, which performs with high accuracy in prokaryotic organisms in detecting putative smORFs. The unique feature of smORFer is that it uses an integrated approach and considers structural features of the genetic sequence along with in-frame translation and uses Fourier transform to convert these parameters into a measurable score to faithfully select smORFs. The algorithm is executed in a modular way, and dependent on the data available for a particular organism, different modules can be selected for smORF search.
    • Specific serum IgG at diagnosis of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream invasion is correlated with disease progression.

      Stentzel, Sebastian; Sundaramoorthy, Nandakumar; Michalik, Stephan; Nordengrün, Maria; Schulz, Sarah; Kolata, Julia; Kloppot, Peggy; Engelmann, Susanne; Steil, Leif; Hecker, Michael; et al. (2015-07-05)
      Although Staphylococcus aureus is a prominent cause of infections, no vaccine is currently available. Active vaccination relies on immune memory, a core competence of the adaptive immune system. To elucidate whether adaptive immunity can provide protection from serious complications of S. aureus infection, a prospective observational study of 44 patients with S. aureus infection complicated by bacteremia was conducted. At diagnosis, serum IgG binding to S. aureus extracellular proteins was quantified on immunoblots and with Luminex-based FLEXMAP 3D™ assays comprising 64 recombinant S. aureus proteins. Results were correlated with the course of the infection with sepsis as the main outcome variable. S. aureus-specific serum IgG levels at diagnosis of S. aureus infection were lower in patients developing sepsis than in patients without sepsis (P<0.05). The pattern of IgG binding to eight selected S. aureus proteins correctly predicted the disease course in 75% of patients. Robust immune memory of S. aureus was associated with protection from serious complications of bacterial invasion. Serum IgG binding to eight conserved S. aureus proteins enabled stratification of patients with high and low risk of sepsis early in the course of S. aureus infections complicated by bacteremia.
    • Staphylococcal serine protease-like proteins are pacemakers of allergic airway reactions to Staphylococcus aureus.

      Stentzel, Sebastian; Teufelberger, Andrea; Nordengrün, Maria; Kolata, Julia; Schmidt, Frank; van Crombruggen, Koen; Michalik, Stephan; Kumpfmüller, Jana; Tischer, Sebastian; Schweder, Thomas; et al. (2017-02)
      A substantial subgroup of asthmatic patients have "nonallergic" or idiopathic asthma, which often takes a severe course and is difficult to treat. The cause might be allergic reactions to the gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, a frequent colonizer of the upper airways. However, the driving allergens of S aureus have remained elusive.
    • A systematic proteomic analysis of Listeria monocytogenes house-keeping protein secretion systems.

      Halbedel, Sven; Reiss, Swantje; Hahn, Birgit; Albrecht, Dirk; Mannala, Gopala Krishna; Chakraborty, Trinad; Hain, Torsten; Engelmann, Susanne; Flieger, Antje (2014-11)
      Listeria monocytogenes is a firmicute bacterium causing serious infections in humans upon consumption of contaminated food. Most of its virulence factors are secretory proteins either released to the medium or attached to the bacterial surface. L. monocytogenes encodes at least six different protein secretion pathways. Although great efforts have been made in the past to predict secretory proteins and their secretion routes using bioinformatics, experimental evidence is lacking for most secretion systems. Therefore, we constructed mutants in the main housekeeping protein secretion systems, which are the Sec-dependent transport, the YidC membrane insertases SpoIIIJ and YqjG, as well as the twin-arginine pathway, and analyzed their secretion and virulence defects. Our results demonstrate that Sec-dependent secretion and membrane insertion of proteins via YidC proteins are essential for viability of L. monocytogenes. Depletion of SecA or YidC activity severely affected protein secretion, whereas loss of the Tat-pathway was without any effect on secretion, viability, and virulence. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis combined with protein identification by mass spectrometry revealed that secretion of many virulence factors and of enzymes synthesizing and degrading the cell wall depends on the SecA route. This finding was confirmed by SecA inhibition experiments using sodium azide. Analysis of secretion of substrates typically dependent on the accessory SecA2 ATPase in wild type and azide resistant mutants of L. monocytogenes revealed for the first time that SecA2-dependent protein secretion also requires the ATPase activity of the house-keeping SecA protein.
    • Towards the characterization of the hidden world of small proteins in Staphylococcus aureus, a proteogenomics approach.

      Fuchs, Stephan; Kucklick, Martin; Lehmann, Erik; Beckmann, Alexander; Wilkens, Maya; Kolte, Baban; Mustafayeva, Ayten; Ludwig, Tobias; Diwo, Maurice; Wissing, Josef; et al. (PLOS, 2021-06-01)
      Small proteins play essential roles in bacterial physiology and virulence, however, automated algorithms for genome annotation are often not yet able to accurately predict the corresponding genes. The accuracy and reliability of genome annotations, particularly for small open reading frames (sORFs), can be significantly improved by integrating protein evidence from experimental approaches. Here we present a highly optimized and flexible bioinformatics workflow for bacterial proteogenomics covering all steps from (i) generation of protein databases, (ii) database searches and (iii) peptide-to-genome mapping to (iv) visualization of results. We used the workflow to identify high quality peptide spectrum matches (PSMs) for small proteins (≤ 100 aa, SP100) in Staphylococcus aureus Newman. Protein extracts from S. aureus were subjected to different experimental workflows for protein digestion and prefractionation and measured with highly sensitive mass spectrometers. In total, 175 proteins with up to 100 aa (SP100) were identified. Out of these 24 (ranging from 9 to 99 aa) were novel and not contained in the used genome annotation.144 SP100 are highly conserved and were found in at least 50% of the publicly available S. aureus genomes, while 127 are additionally conserved in other staphylococci. Almost half of the identified SP100 were basic, suggesting a role in binding to more acidic molecules such as nucleic acids or phospholipids.
    • Within-Host Adaptation of in a Bovine Mastitis Infection Is Associated with Increased Cytotoxicity.

      Mayer, Katharina; Kucklick, Martin; Marbach, Helene; Ehling-Schulz, Monika; Engelmann, Susanne; Grunert, Tom; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-08-17)
      Within-host adaptation is a typical feature of chronic, persistent Staphylococcus aureus infections. Research projects addressing adaptive changes due to bacterial in-host evolution increase our understanding of the pathogen's strategies to survive and persist for a long time in various hosts such as human and bovine. In this study, we investigated the adaptive processes of S. aureus during chronic, persistent bovine mastitis using a previously isolated isogenic strain pair from a dairy cow with chronic, subclinical mastitis, in which the last variant (host-adapted, Sigma factor SigB-deficient) quickly replaced the initial, dominant variant. The strain pair was cultivated under specific in vitro infection-relevant growth-limiting conditions (iron-depleted RPMI under oxygen limitation). We used a combinatory approach of surfaceomics, molecular spectroscopic fingerprinting and in vitro phenotypic assays. Cellular cytotoxicity assays using red blood cells and bovine mammary epithelial cells (MAC-T) revealed changes towards a more cytotoxic phenotype in the host-adapted isolate with an increased alpha-hemolysin (α-toxin) secretion, suggesting an improved capacity to penetrate and disseminate the udder tissue. Our results foster the hypothesis that within-host evolved SigB-deficiency favours extracellular persistence in S. aureus infections. Here, we provide new insights into one possible adaptive strategy employed by S. aureus during chronic, bovine mastitis, and we emphasise the need to analyse genotype-phenotype associations under different infection-relevant growth conditions.