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Microb Biotechnol. 2012 Jul;5(4):455-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-7915.2011.00294.x. Epub 2011 Sep 9.

Biofilm formation in Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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Departamento de Microbiología Molecular y Biología de las Infecciones, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas and CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias, Madrid, Spain.


Biofilm-grown bacteria are refractory to antimicrobial agents and show an increased capacity to evade the host immune system. In recent years, studies have begun on biofilm formation by Streptococcus pneumoniae, an important human pathogen, using a variety of in vitro model systems. The bacterial cells in these biofilms are held together by an extracellular matrix composed of DNA, proteins and, possibly, polysaccharide(s). Although neither the precise nature of these proteins nor the composition of the putative polysaccharide(s) is clear, it is known that choline-binding proteins are required for successful biofilm formation. Further, many genes appear to be involved, although the role of each appears to vary when biofilms are produced in batch or continuous culture. Prophylactic and therapeutic measures need to be developed to fight S. pneumoniae biofilm formation. However, much care needs to be taken when choosing strains for such studies because different S. pneumoniae isolates can show remarkable genomic differences. Multispecies and in vivo biofilm models must also be developed to provide a more complete understanding of biofilm formation and maintenance.

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