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J Bacteriol. 2001 May;183(9):2888-96.

Bap, a Staphylococcus aureus surface protein involved in biofilm formation.

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  • 1Unit of Biochemistry, Department of Basic Biomedical Sciences, Cardenal Herrera-CEU University, 46113 Moncada, Valencia, Spain.


Identification of new genes involved in biofilm formation is needed to understand the molecular basis of strain variation and the pathogenic mechanisms implicated in chronic staphylococcal infections. A biofilm-producing Staphylococcus aureus isolate was used to generate biofilm-negative transposon (Tn917) insertion mutants. Two mutants were found with a significant decrease in attachment to inert surfaces (early adherence), intercellular adhesion, and biofilm formation. The transposon was inserted at the same locus in both mutants. This locus (bap [for biofilm associated protein]) encodes a novel cell wall associated protein of 2,276 amino acids (Bap), which shows global organizational similarities to surface proteins of gram-negative (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi) and gram-positive (Enteroccocus faecalis) microorganisms. Bap's core region represents 52% of the protein and consists of 13 successive nearly identical repeats, each containing 86 amino acids. bap was present in a small fraction of bovine mastitis isolates (5% of the 350 S. aureus isolates tested), but it was absent from the 75 clinical human S. aureus isolates analyzed. All staphylococcal isolates harboring bap were highly adherent and strong biofilm producers. In a mouse infection model bap was involved in pathogenesis, causing a persistent infection.

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