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Eur J Cell Biol. 2010 Jan;89(1):103-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2009.10.005. Epub 2009 Nov 14.

Structure, function and contribution of polysaccharide intercellular adhesin (PIA) to Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm formation and pathogenesis of biomaterial-associated infections.

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Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany.


Staphylococcus epidermidis is of major importance in infections associated with indwelling medical devices. The tight pathogenic association is essentially linked to the species ability to form adherent biofilms on artificial surfaces. Aiming at identifying novel targets for vaccination or therapy much effort has been made to unravel the molecular mechanisms leading to S. epidermidis biofilm formation. At present, polysaccharide intercellular adhesin (PIA) is the best studied factor involved in S. epidermidis biofilm accumulation. PIA is a glycan of beta-1,6-linked 2-acetamido-2-deoxy-D-glucopyranosyl residues of which 15 % are non-N-acetylated. PIA-producing S. epidermidis are widespread in clinical strain collections and PIA synthesis has been shown to be essential for S. epidermidis virulence. Moreover, PIA homologues have been identified in many other staphylococcal species, including the major human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, and also Gram-negative human pathogens, suggesting that it might represent a more general pathogenicity principle in biofilm-related infections. In this review the current knowledge about the structure and biosynthesis of PIA is summarized. Additionally, information on its role in pathogenesis of biomaterial-related and other type of infections and the potential use of PIA and related compounds for prevention of infection is discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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