Staphylococcus aureus

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A Microbial Biorealm page on the genus Staphylococcus aureus

Classification

Higher order taxa

Domain: Bacteria Kingdom: Bacteria Phylum: Firmicutes Class: Cocci Order: Bacillales Family: Staphylococcaceae Genus: Staphylococcus Species: Staphylococcus aureus

Species

Staphylococcus aureus

NCBI: Taxonomy

Description and significance

Describe the appearance, habitat, etc. of the organism, and why it is important enough to have its genome sequenced. Describe how and where it was isolated. Include a picture or two (with sources) if you can find them.

Colonies formed by S. aureus are yellow (thus the name aureus, Latin for gold) and grow large on a rich medium. Staphylococci are spherical gram-positive bacteria, which are immobile and form grape-like clusters. They form bunches because they divide in two planes as opposed to their close relatives streptococci which form chains because they divide only in one plane. Staphylococcus aureus and their genus Staphylococci are facultative anaerobes which means that they grow by aerobic respiration or fermentation that produces lactic acid.


As a pathogen, it is important to understand the virulence mechanisms of S. aureus especially the Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in order to successfully combat the pathogen. The increasing population of "super germs" and antibiotic resistant pathogens have increased pressure on researchers to find alternative, more effective ways of fighting these "super germs." DNA sequencing of this microbe has already isolated the source code of its' resistance to antibiotics, and further research will more than likely lead us to the path of our next artillery against this and many other pathogens.

Genome structure

Describe the size and content of the genome. How many chromosomes? Circular or linear? Other interesting features? What is known about its sequence? Does it have any plasmids? Are they important to the organism's lifestyle?

Cell structure and metabolism

Describe any interesting features and/or cell structures; how it gains energy; what important molecules it produces.

Ecology

Describe any interactions with other organisms (included eukaryotes), contributions to the environment, effect on environment, etc.

Pathology

How does this organism cause disease? Human, animal, plant hosts? Virulence factors, as well as patient symptoms.

Application to Biotechnology

Does this organism produce any useful compounds or enzymes? What are they and how are they used?

Current Research

Enter summaries of the most recent research here--at least three required

References

[Sample reference] Takai, K., Sugai, A., Itoh, T., and Horikoshi, K. "Palaeococcus ferrophilus gen. nov., sp. nov., a barophilic, hyperthermophilic archaeon from a deep-sea hydrothermal vent chimney". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 2000. Volume 50. p. 489-500.

Edited by student of Rachel Larsen and Kit Pogliano