Staphylococcus aureus Adaptation During Infection

  • Bo ShopsinEmail author
  • Richard Copin
Part of the Emerging Infectious Diseases of the 21st Century book series (EIDC)


Bacteria tune their gene expression, thereby enabling rapid responses to changing environments. When phenotypes produced in response to an environmental stress are inadequate to buffer against that stress, changes that do buffer may become genetically encoded by natural selection. Whole-genome sequencing has opened a new way to investigate the dynamics of genomic adaptation of bacterial pathogens during infection and antimicrobial treatment. This chapter describes how knowledge of adaptive change has advanced our understanding of the mechanisms and principles of antimicrobial resistance and virulence, with special focus on the opportunistic pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. The epidemiological consequences of such adaptations, both within and between hosts, are considered. These changes are often more extreme in opportunistic than in obligate pathogens, suggesting that normally commensal bacteria have evolved to accommodate a high degree of environmental variation through genome plasticity. Also discussed is the possibility that “omics” techniques may be used to predict the progression of bacterial infections and potentially to identiy the best option for achieving clinical cure and for limiting the development of resistance.



We thank Karl Drlica for helpful discussions and critical comments. Our work was supported by NIH grants AI103268 and N272201400019C.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departments of Medicine and MicrobiologyNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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