Staphylococcal exfoliative toxins are involved in some cutaneous infections in mammals by targeting desmoglein 1 (Dsg1), a desmosomal cell-cell adhesion molecule. Recently, an exfoliative toxin gene (exi) was identified in Staphylococcus pseudintermedius isolated from canine pyoderma. The aim of this study was to identify novel exfoliative toxin genes in S. pseudintermedius. Here, we describe a novel orf in the genome of S. pseudintermedius isolated from canine impetigo, whose deduced amino acid sequence was homologous to that of the SHETB exfoliative toxin from Staphylococcus hyicus (70.4%). The ORF recombinant protein caused skin exfoliation and abolished cell surface staining of Dsg1 in canine skin. Moreover, the ORF protein degraded the recombinant extracellular domains of canine Dsg1, but not Dsg3, in vitro. PCR analysis revealed that the orf was present in 23.2% (23/99) of S. pseudintermedius isolates from dogs with superficial pyoderma exhibiting various clinical phenotypes, while the occurrence in S. pseudintermedius isolates from healthy dogs was 6.1% (3/49). In summary, this newly found orf in S. pseudintermedius encodes a novel exfoliative toxin, which targets a cell-cell adhesion molecule in canine epidermis and might be involved in a broad spectrum of canine pyoderma.
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