Pathogens-induced platelet activation contributes to inflammation in cardiovascular diseases, but underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Staphylococcal superantigen-like protein 5 (SSL5) is a known activator of platelets. Here we examined whether SSL5 is implicated in Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus)-induced inflammation and potential mechanisms involved. As expected, we show that SSL5 activates human platelets and induces generation of platelet microparticles (PMPs). Flow cytometry and scanning electron microscopy studies demonstrate that SSL5-induced PMPs (SSL5-PMPs) bind to monocytes, causing aggregate formation. In addition, SSL5-PMPs provoke monocyte expression and release of inflammatory mediators, including interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumour necrosis factor-α (TNFα), monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in a dose- and time-dependent manner. SSL5-PMPs also en hance MCP-1-induced monocyte migration. Blockade of CD40 and CD40 ligand (CD40L) interactions with neutralising antibodies significantly reduce monocyte release of inflammatory mediators and migration induced by SSL5-PMPs. SiRNA-mediated silencing of CD40 or TNF receptor (TNFR)-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) gene largely abrogates phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of NFκB (p65). In conclusion, SSL5 provokes the release of inflammatory mediators in monocytes, at least in part, via PMPs-mediated activation of the CD40/TRAF6/NFκB signalling pathway, though it normally inhibits leukocyte function. Our findings thus reveal a novel mechanism by which S. aureus induces inflammation.
- CD40 ligand
- Platelet microparticles
- Staphylococcal superantigen-like protein 5