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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2007 May;270(2):179-88. Epub 2007 Apr 10.

ica and beyond: biofilm mechanisms and regulation in Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus.

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School of Biomolecular and Biomedical Science, Ardmore House, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin, Ireland.


Recent progress in elucidating the role of the icaADBC-encoded polysaccharide intercellular adhesin (PIA) or polymeric N-acetyl-glucosamine (PNAG) in staphylococcal biofilm development has in turn contributed significantly to our understanding of the pathogenesis of device-related infections. Nevertheless, our understanding of how the ica locus and PIA/PNAG biosynthesis are regulated is far from complete and many questions remain. Moreover, beyond ica, evidence is now emerging for the existence of ica-independent biofilm mechanisms in both Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis. Teichoic acids, which are a major carbohydrate component of the S. epidermidis biofilm matrix and the major cell wall autolysin, play an important role in the primary attachment phase of biofilm development, whereas the cell surface biofilm-associated protein and accumulation-associated protein are capable of mediating intercellular accumulation. These findings raise the exciting prospect that other surface proteins, which typically function as antigenic determinants or in binding to extracellular matrix proteins, may also act as biofilm adhesins. Given the impressive array of surface proteins expressed by S. aureus and S. epidermidis, future research into their potential role in biofilm development either independent of PIA/PNAG or in cooperation with PIA/PNAG will be of particular interest.

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