Previous studies showed that an agr mutant strain of Staphylococcus aureus was partially attenuated in virulence compared to a parental strain in experimental endophthalmitis. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the sar locus, either alone or through interactions with agr, contributes to the regulation of virulence in S. aureus endophthalmitis. Experimental endophthalmitis was established by the midvitreous injection of approximately 30 CFU of S. aureus RN6390 or the isogenic attenuated strains RN6911 (agr mutant), ALC136 (sar mutant), and ALC135 (agr sar double mutant). Unexpectedly, the rate of reduction in electroretinographic B-wave amplitude in eyes infected with strain ALC136 (sar mutant) was not significantly different from the parental strain on postinfection day (PID) 5 (10% retention). In contrast, ALC135 (agr sar double mutant)-infected eyes retained 73% of preoperative B-wave amplitude on PID 5. Therefore, unlike agr, a mutation in the sar locus alone does not alter the overall virulence of wild-type S. aureus in experimental endophthalmitis. However, the combined effect of insertional mutations in both the sar and agr global regulators leads to near-complete attenuation of virulence
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