Staphylococcus aureus, master manipulator of the human hemostatic system

L Liesenborghs, P Verhamme, T Vanassche

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The coagulation system does not only offer protection against bleeding, but also aids in our defense against invading microorganisms. The hemostatic system and innate immunity are strongly entangled, which explains why so many infections are complicated by either bleeding or thrombosis. Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), currently the most deadly infectious agent in the developed world, causes devastating intravascular infections such as sepsis and infective endocarditis. During these infections S. aureus comes in close contact with the host hemostatic system and proves to be a master in manipulating coagulation. The coagulases of S. aureus directly induce coagulation by activating prothrombin. S. aureus also manipulates fibrinolysis by triggering plasminogen activation via staphylokinase. Furthermore, S. aureus binds and activates platelets and interacts with key coagulation proteins such as fibrin(ogen), fibronectin and von Willebrand factor. By manipulating the coagulation system S. aureus gains a significant advantage over the host defense mechanisms. Studying the interplay between S. aureus and the hemostatic system can therefore lead to new innovative therapies for battling S. aureus infections.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)441-454
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins/metabolism
  • Blood Coagulation
  • Blood Platelets/metabolism
  • Coagulase/metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Fibrin/chemistry
  • Fibrinolysis
  • Fibronectins/chemistry
  • Hemostasis
  • Hemostatics
  • Humans
  • Immune System
  • Metalloendopeptidases/metabolism
  • Mice
  • Plasminogen/chemistry
  • Platelet Activation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Domains
  • Staphylococcal Infections/blood
  • Staphylococcus aureus/enzymology
  • von Willebrand Factor/chemistry


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