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J Biotechnol. 2000 Sep 29;83(1-2):37-44.

Vaccine potential of poly-1-6 beta-D-N-succinylglucosamine, an immunoprotective surface polysaccharide of Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis.

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Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115-5804, USA.


Staphylococcus aureus and S. epidermidis are among the most common causes of nosocomial infection, and S. aureus is also of major concern to human health due to its occurrence in community-acquired infections. These staphylococcal species are also major pathogens for domesticated animals. We have previously identified poly-N-succinyl beta-1-6 glucosamine (PNSG) as the chemical form of the S. epidermidis capsular polysaccharide/adhesin (PS/A) which mediates adherence of coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) to biomaterials, serves as the capsule for strains of CoNS that express PS/A, and is a target for protective antibodies. We have recently found that PNSG is made by S. aureus as well, where it is an environmentally regulated, in vivo-expressed surface polysaccharide and similarly serves as a target for protective immunity. Only a minority of fresh human clinical isolates of S. aureus elaborate PNSG in vitro but most could be induced to do so under specific in vitro growth conditions. However, by immunofluorescence microscopy, S. aureus cells in infected human sputa and lung elaborated PNSG. The ica genes, previously shown to encode proteins in CoNS that synthesize PNSG, were found by PCR in all S. aureus strains examined, and immunogenic and protective PNSG could be isolated from S. aureus. Active and passive immunization of mice with PNSG protected them against metastatic kidney infections after intravenous inoculation with eight phenotypically PNSG-negative S. aureus. Isolates recovered from kidneys expressed PNSG, but expression was lost with in vitro culture. Strong antibody responses to PNSG were elicited in S. aureus infected mice, and a PNSG-capsule was observed by electron microscopy on isolates directly plated from infected kidneys. PNSG represents a previously unidentified surface polysaccharide of S. aureus that is elaborated during human and animal infection and is a prominent target for protective antibodies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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