Chapter 19 : The Staphylococcal Biofilm: Adhesins, Regulation, and Host Response

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The genus includes a diverse group of commensals that colonize mammals on the skin or mucous membranes. Some of the best-known members of this genus, such as and , are also opportunistic pathogens and are responsible for a tremendous burden on the health care system ( ). One of the reasons staphylococci are problematic is their well-known ability to attach to surfaces and develop into recalcitrant community structures, often referred to as “biofilms.” Generally, biofilms are defined as communities of cells encased within an exopolymeric matrix and attached to a surface, and they are recognized as being resistant to antimicrobial therapy and host defenses ( ).

Citation: Paharik A, Horswill A. 2016. The Staphylococcal Biofilm: Adhesins, Regulation, and Host Response, p 529-566. In Kudva I, Cornick N, Plummer P, Zhang Q, Nicholson T, Bannantine J, Bellaire B (ed),

Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fifth Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0022-2015
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Figure 1

The biofilm life cycle. Recent studies have identified steps present in early stages of biofilm formation. After attachment, bacteria form a lawn of growth, which undergoes an exodus period that leaves several small foci of cells. The exodus phase is mediated by the SaeRS system via nuclease enzyme activity. The foci of cells then develop into a mature biofilm containing tower structures. Final dispersal is mediated by the system via secreted enzymes and phenol-soluble modulins.

Citation: Paharik A, Horswill A. 2016. The Staphylococcal Biofilm: Adhesins, Regulation, and Host Response, p 529-566. In Kudva I, Cornick N, Plummer P, Zhang Q, Nicholson T, Bannantine J, Bellaire B (ed),

Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fifth Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0022-2015
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Image of Figure 2
Figure 2

Cell wall–anchored adhesins. All the cell wall–anchored adhesins contain an N-terminal signal sequence (SS) and a C-terminal portion that is cleaved by sortase A at the LPXTG sequence. MSCRAMMs contain three IgG-like folds (N1, N2, and N3) followed by specific ligand-binding domains. In the Sdr protein subfamily, a variable number of B repeats is found between the IgG-like folds and the SD repeat region. SdrC is shown, which contains two of these B repeats. Similarly, the Isd proteins contain one, two, or three NEAT motifs. IsdA is shown, which has one. In SpA, there are four or five IgG-binding domains, sometimes referred to as domains E, D, A, C, and B. There follows a region containing a variable number of tandem repeats.

Citation: Paharik A, Horswill A. 2016. The Staphylococcal Biofilm: Adhesins, Regulation, and Host Response, p 529-566. In Kudva I, Cornick N, Plummer P, Zhang Q, Nicholson T, Bannantine J, Bellaire B (ed),

Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fifth Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0022-2015
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Figure 3

Regulatory networks in biofilm formation. The quorum-sensing system induces expression of secreted staphopain proteases by inhibiting translation of Rot (repressor of toxins), a negative regulator of the proteases. These proteases then degrade proteins on the staphylococcal surface and in the biofilm matrix. The SaeRS system induces production of the nuclease enzyme that cleaves eDNA in the matrix. Sigma factor B (SigB) inhibits expression, while SarA has been shown to directly enhance it.

Citation: Paharik A, Horswill A. 2016. The Staphylococcal Biofilm: Adhesins, Regulation, and Host Response, p 529-566. In Kudva I, Cornick N, Plummer P, Zhang Q, Nicholson T, Bannantine J, Bellaire B (ed),

Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fifth Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0022-2015
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Figure 4

Macrophage activation pathways. Biofilm growth of has been shown to favor the M2 phenotype in macrophages, which is characterized by increased arginase and profibrotic activity, as well as decreased antimicrobial clearance. These changes are thought to contribute to the persistence of staphylococci in biofilm infections. This figure is reproduced from reference .

Citation: Paharik A, Horswill A. 2016. The Staphylococcal Biofilm: Adhesins, Regulation, and Host Response, p 529-566. In Kudva I, Cornick N, Plummer P, Zhang Q, Nicholson T, Bannantine J, Bellaire B (ed),

Virulence Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogens, Fifth Edition

. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/microbiolspec.VMBF-0022-2015
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