Staphylococcus lugdunensis

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Higher order taxa:

Bacteria (domain); Firmicutes (phylum); Bacilli (class); Bacillales (order); Staphylococcaceae(family); Staphylococcus (genus)


Staphylococcus lugdunensis

NCBI: Taxonomy

Description and significance

Staphycoccus lugdunensis’ name deviates from the Latin translation of “Lyon,” which is the French city where the bacteria was first isolated [12]. Freney, Brun, Bes, Meugnier, Grimont, Grimont, Nervi, Fleurette isolated S. lugdunensis in 1988 [10]. S. lugdunensis may appear cream to golden, glistening and smooth, growing in pairs, clusters, or chains, but may also grow in individual colonies [12]. The cell is gram-positive, non-motile, and generally grows between .8 to 1.0 micrometers [12]. S. lugdunensis cells contain several surface proteins including protein C (IsdC), which aids in the formation of biofilms specifically in an iron depleted environment [11]. Cells also express other iron binding proteins (IsdJ and IsdK) and other receptors and transporters involved with the accumulation of iron [4]. This bacteria primarily produces D-lactate [12]. S. lugdunensis also excretes lugdunin [14].

See existing MicrobeWiki page for the genus Staphylococcus:

Genome and genetics

Within the major prokaryotic branch of bacteria, the Staphylococcus genus, in general, closely relates to bacteria from the Macrococcus genus and the Salinicoccus genus [13]. Within its genus, S. lugdunensis closely relates to Staphylococcus haemolyticus and Staphylococcus hominis[13]. Researchers positively identify the genome of S. lugdunensis by analyzing its 16S ribosomal DNA from a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) using forward and reverse primers [7]. A genome analysis, using the MIGS-30 method,estimated the genome size at 2,595,888 base pairs with 2,524 genes ( ) [8]. S. lugdunensis maintains a nucleotide base composition of thirty-two percent (%G+C = 32)[12].The isd gene in S. lugdunensis, similar to Staphylococcus aureus and absent in other coagulase negative species, codes for the isdG system and encodes for a putative autolysin within the operon not included in S. aureus [5]. The S. lugdunensis’ genome encodes three nonribosomal peptide synthetases that may aide in S. lugdunensis’ pathogenicity, which is rare in the Staphylococcus genus [5].

Nutrition and metabolism

This species is a facultative anaerobe, meaning it can utilize oxygen, but it can also use fermentation in order to get the energy it needs [12]. For example, S. lugdunensis utilizes the nutrients in D-fructose, D-glucose, α-methyl-D-glucoside, glycerol, lactose, maltose, D-mannose, sucrose, and trehalose, which is indicated by acid production in anerobic conditions [12]. Facultative anaerobes can grow in environments with or without oxygen, which makes it easier to study S. lugdunensis in a laboratory. S. lugdunensis grows best between 30oC and 45oC, but it tolerates as low as 20oC [12]. At 15% NaCl, S. lugdunensis experiences delays in its growth rate, but readily tolerates 10% NaCl12. S. lugdunensis does not appear to be picky when it comes to media, and colonies will grow up to 4cm after 72 hours of incubation on P agar at 35oC [12]. S. lugdunensis ferments glucose and produces d-lactate as a by-product [12].


S. lugdunensis contributes to biofilm formation which may be helpful to the surrounding ecosystem, but not the host, due to the fact that biofilms increase bacterial immunity to antibiotics [9]. S. lugdunensis is known to have a negative impact on at least one other organism sharing its environment. Almost all strains of S. lugdunensis secrete lugdunin, a recently discovered antibiotic [2]. Currently, researches remain unsure as to how the antibiotic works, but S. lugdunensis overcomes MRSA (penicillin resistant S. aureus) in petri dishes, test tubes, and skin infections in mice [2].


S. lugdunensis utilizes an Isd system which allows the bacteria to bind and break down heme from the protein tissue [3]. Heme is a significant iron source in host tissue, and iron contributes to the pathogens ability to reproduce and form a biofilm [3]. Biofilm production in S. lugdunensis appears different because it is coagulase negative and does not utilize fibrinogen from the host tissue in order to form a biofilm [9]. Instead, biofilm formation in S. lugdunensis utilizes different processes and appears to form biofilms out of different proteins [9]. While other Staphylococcus species (i.e., S. aureus) rely on iron rich environment in order to produce biofilm formation, S. lugdunensis forms a stronger biofilm in environments with less iron [9]. S. lugdunensis may promote endocarditis, meningitis, or other infections related to prosthetic joints, skin wounds, or breast absecces [6]. Device removal may be required in order to resolve an infection [9]. Currently, most S. lugdunensis strains remain susceptible to a multitude of antibiotic treatments, including penicillin, gentamicin, rifampicin, vancomycin, and erythromycin [6].

Current Research

One of the most recent research articles written concerning S. lugdunensis, studies the effects of S. lugdunensis on other bacteria. S. lugdunensis produces lugdunin, which kills S. aureus [14]. Not all strains with certain mutations prevent S. aureus’ growth, and some strains are limited to solid surfaces as opposed to liquid mediums [14]. Lugdunin not only kills S. aureus, but effectively combats other gram-positive bacterial species such as those in the Enterococcus genera [14]. Research indicates that human cells, isolated from volunteers, remain intact when exposed to lugdunin [14]. Only 5.9% of individual’s with S. lugdunensis in their noses also contained S. aureus as compared to 32.1% individuals in the population without S. lugdunensis [14]. While scientists have yet to inoculate humans with lugdunin, inoculation of cotton rat noses with S. lugdunensis reduced the presence of S. aureus [14]. Researchers obtained and identified bacteria from 187 patients in the hospital to use in this study [14].

Some plants produce compounds referred to as tannins that help defend them from their environment, including herbivores and microorganism [1]. A few microorganisms produce tannase which degrades tannin into glucose and gallic acid [1]. Researchers in this study sampled and cloned tannase from S. lugdunenis in an effort to characterize and compare the compound to tannase samples previously sampled and cloned from other microorganisms [1]. Researchers cultured S. lugdunensis obtained from India, extracted the DNA, and isolated genes specific to tannase [1]. The researchers tested crude, purified, and immobilized tannase clones from S. lugdunensis [1]. When tested the tannase activity performed at its highest level at 40oC for all three groups, but the immobilized group showed slightly higher activity than the other two groups [1]. Tannase activity remained highest at a neutral pH for all three groups [1]. The study also observed many other factors, including detergents, organic solvents, and metals [1]. This study helps scientists understand the commercial applications of tannase, and specific research involving S. lugdunensis suggests immobilizing the enzyme increases tannase’s thermal tolerance [1].


[1] Chaitanyakumar A and Anbalagan M. 2016. Expression, purification and immobilization of tannase from Staphylococcus lugdunensis MTCC 3614. AMB Express. 6(89).

[2] Emerson E. 2016. The nose knows how to fight staph. Science News. 190(4): 7.

[3] Haley KP, Janson EM, Heilbronner S, Foster TJ, Skaar EP. 2011. Staphylococcus lugdunensis IsdG Liberates Iron from Host Heme. Journal of Bacteriology. 193(18): 4749-4757.

[4] Haley KP. The role of the staphylococcus lugdunensis Isd system in iron acquisition and biofilm formation. Nashville (TN): Vanderbilt; 2014. 10 p.

[5] Heilbronner S, Holden MTG, Tonder AV, Geoghegan JA, Foster TJ, Parkhill J, Bentley SD. 2011. Genome sequence of Staphylococcus lugdunensis N920143 allows identification of putative colonization and virulence factors. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 322(1): 60–67.

[6] Hellbacher C, Tornqvist E, and Soderquist B. 2005. Staphylococcus lugdunensis: clinical spectrum, antibiotic susceptibility, and pheotypic and genotypic patterns of 39 isolates. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. 12(1): 43-49.

[7] Kleiner, E, Monk AB, Archer GL, Forbes BA. 2010. Clinical significance of Staphylococcus lugdunensis isolated from routine cultures. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 51 (7): 801-803. doi: 10.1086/656280.

[8] Kyrpides N. 2011. Staphylococcus lugdunensis N920143. JGI.

[9] Missineo A, Di Poto A, Geoghegan JA, Rindi S, Heilbronner S, Gianotti V, Arciola CR, Foster TJ, Speziale P, Pietrocola G. 2014. IsdC from Staphylococcus lugdunensis Induces Biofilm Formation under Low-Iron Growth Conditions. Infection and Immunity. 82(6): 2448-2459.

[10] NCBI taxonomy browser. Staphylococcus lugdunensis [Internet]. Bethesda, MD: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine [cited 2017 Feb 11].

[11] Speziale P, Pietrocola G, Foster TJ and Geoghegan JA. Protein-based biofilm matrices in Staphylococci. 2014; 4:171. doi: 10.3389/fcimb.2014.00171 (

[12] Staphylococcus lugduninsis. In Vos PD, Garrity GM, Jones D, Krieg NR, Ludwig W, Rainer FA, Schleifer KH, Whitman WB, editors. Bergey’s manual of systematic bacteriology. New Your (NY): Springer; 2009. 411 p.

[13] Staphylococcus. In Vos PD, Garrity GM, Jones D, Krieg NR, Ludwig W, Rainer FA, Schleifer KH, Whitman WB, editors. Bergey’s manual of systematic bacteriology. New Your (NY): Springer; 2009. 396, 397

[14] Zipperer A, Konnerth MC, Laux C, Berscheid A, Janek D, Weidenmaier C, Burian M, Schilling NA, Slavetinsky C, Marschal M, et al. 2016. Human commensals producing a novel antibiotic impair pathogen colonization. Nature. 535(7613): 511-516.

Authored by Katelynn Estes, a student of CJ Funk at John Brown University