Staphylococcus aureusis a Gram-positive bacterium that is carried by a quarter of the healthy human population and that can cause severe infections. This pathobiosis has been linked to a balance between Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2)-dependent pro- and anti-inflammatory responses. The relationship between these two types of responses is unknown. Analysis of 16 nasal isolates ofS. aureusshowed heterogeneity in their capacity to induce pro- and anti-inflammatory responses, suggesting that these two responses are independent of each other. Uncoupling of these responses was corroborated by selective signaling through phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt-mTOR and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) for the anti-inflammatory response and through p38 for the proinflammatory response. Uncoupling was also observed at the level of phagocytosis and phagosomal processing ofS. aureus, which were required solely for the proinflammatory response. Importantly, the anti-inflammatory properties of anS. aureusisolate correlated with its ability to modulate T cell immunity. Our results suggest the presence of anti-inflammatory TLR2 ligands in the staphylococcal cell wall, whose identification may provide templates for novel immunomodulatory drugs.