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Nat Med. 2004 Mar;10(3):243-5. Epub 2004 Feb 1.

Role of teichoic acids in Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization, a major risk factor in nosocomial infections.

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Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Medical Microbiology and Hygiene Department, University of Tübingen, Elfriede-Aulhorn-Strasse 6, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Colonization of the anterior nares in approximately 37% of the population is a major risk factor for severe Staphylococcus aureus infections. Here we show that wall teichoic acid (WTA), a surface-exposed staphylococcal polymer, is essential for nasal colonization and mediates interaction with human nasal epithelial cells. WTA-deficient mutants were impaired in their adherence to nasal cells, and were completely unable to colonize cotton rat nares. This study describes the first essential factor for S. aureus nasal colonization.

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