Novel Technology to Study Co-Evolution of Humans and Staphylococcus aureus: Consequences for Interpreting the Biology of Colonisation and Infection

  • Alex van BelkumEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 697)


Human nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus is a textbook example of an apparently neutral interaction between humans and a bacterial species that can still lead to (severe) opportunistic infections. The co-evolutionary aspects of this interaction are slowly surfacing, facilitated by the emergence of a diversity of diagnostic, epidemiological and molecular research tools. Basic microbiology has helped define persistent vs. non-carriage and the genotype of both host and guest has been explored in search of genetic markers for bacterial persistence. This chapter summarises the current state of affairs relating to artificial human colonisation studies with S. aureus, large-scale human cohort studies and innovative assessment of the humoral immune status of (non-)nasal carriers. These experimental approaches have recently assisted in identifying bacterial and human determinants and risk factors for staphylococcal carriage. Further refinement of the model by describing the interactions between S. aureus and its human host in molecular detail is important since it may pinpoint novel anti-infectious strategies.


Atopic Dermatitis Genetically Modify Organism Nasal Carriage Nasal Colonisation Antibody Profile 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author gratefully acknowledges both intellectual and physical inputs provided by many different collaborators, the volunteers who took part in the experiments and the authors of the papers referred to in this chapter.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BioMérieuxLa Balme les GrottesFrance

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