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Immunofluorescence Microscopy, Staphylococcus Aureus, Surface Proteins, YSIRK/GXXS Signal Peptide, Protein A (Spa), Seca, Surface Display, Cross-wall Localization, Septal Localization

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Surface proteins of Staphylococcus aureus and other Gram-positive bacteria play essential roles in bacterial colonization and host-microbe interactions. Surface protein precursors containing a YSIRK/GXXS signal peptide are translocated across the septal membrane at mid-cell, anchored to the cell wall peptidoglycan at the cross-wall compartment, and presented on the new hemispheres of the daughter cells following cell division. After several generations of cell division, these surface proteins will eventually cover the entire cell surface. To understand how these proteins travel from the bacterial cytoplasm to the cell surface, we describe a series of immunofluorescence microscopy protocols designed to detect the stepwise subcellular localization of the surface protein precursors: surface display (protocol A), cross-wall localization (protocol B), and cytoplasmic/septal membrane localization (protocol C). Staphylococcal protein A (SpA) is the model protein used in this work. The protocols described here are readily adapted to study the localization of other surface proteins as well as other cytoplasmic or membrane proteins in S. aureus in general. Furthermore, the protocols can be modified and adapted for use in other Gram-positive bacteria.

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Bio-protocol, v. 11, issue 10, art. e4038