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Int J Med Microbiol. 2013 Jul;303(5):230-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmm.2013.02.011. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

Role for the fibrinogen-binding proteins coagulase and Efb in the Staphylococcus aureus-Candida interaction.

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Institute of Medical Microbiology, University Hospital of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany.


Staphylococcus aureus and Candida species are increasingly coisolated from implant-associated polymicrobial infections creating an incremental health care problem. Synergistic effects between both genera seem to facilitate the formation of mixed S. aureus-Candida biofilms, which is thought to play a critical role in coinfections with these microorganisms. To identify and characterize S. aureus factors involved in the interaction with Candida species, we affinity-panned an S. aureus phage display library against Candida biofilms in the presence or absence of fibrinogen. Repeatedly isolated clones contained DNA fragments encoding portions of the S. aureus fibrinogen-binding proteins coagulase or Efb. The coagulase binds to prothrombin in a 1:1 ratio thereby inducing a conformational change and non-proteolytic activation of prothrombin, which in turn cleaves fibrinogen to fibrin. Efb has been known to inhibit opsonization. To study the role of coagulase and Efb in the S. aureus-Candida cross-kingdom interaction, we performed flow-cytometric phagocytosis assays. Preincubation with coagulase reduced the phagocytosis of Candida yeasts by granulocytes significantly and dose-dependently. By using confocal laser scanning microscopy, we demonstrated that the coagulase mediated the formation of fibrin surrounding the candidal cells. Furthermore, the addition of Efb significantly protected the yeasts against phagocytosis by granulocytes in a dose-dependent and saturable fashion. In conclusion, the inhibition of phagocytosis of Candida cells by coagulase and Efb via two distinct mechanisms suggests that S. aureus might be beneficial for Candida to persist as it helps Candida to circumvent the host immune system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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