The toxins produced by S. aureus include:
- EXFOLIATIN: Exfoliatin or exfoliative toxins (ET) are protein toxins produced by Staphylococcus aureus strains that cause staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS) in humans.
- TOXIC SHOCK SYNDROME TOXIN-1 (TSST-1): Toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) is another class of superantigens produced by aureus, and it causes toxic shock syndrome disease in humans.
- ENTEROTOXINS: Enterotoxins are superantigens produced by pathogenic aureus strains that cause toxicoses, a type of food poisoning in humans.
- STAPHYLOCOCCAL ALPHA (α) TOXIN: Staphylococcal alpha (α) toxins are cytolytic toxins produced by pathogenic aureus, and which has killing effect on the cell membranes of eukaryotic cells.
- STAPHYLOCOCCAL BETA (β) TOXIN: Staphylococcal beta (β) toxins are less cytotoxic than α toxin but they also attack erythrocytic cells and some cells of the nerves (e.g. sphingomyelin). Beta toxins have high affinity for lipid-rich cells where they cause haemolysis.
- STAPHYLOCOCCAL GAMMA (γ) TOXIN: Staphylococcal gamma (γ) toxins are produced by both aureus and S. epidermidis. Gamma toxins disrupt the integrity of cell membranes like the other haemolysins produced by S. aureus.
- LEUKOCIDIN: Leukocidin is a cell membrane damaging toxin produced by pathogenic strains of aureus. They specifically kill leukocytes by creating small pores or holes that increases loss of materials from the damaged cell, thus inhibiting the process of phagocytosis in the infected human host.