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J Infect Dis. 2015 Dec 15;212(12):1883-93. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiv319. Epub 2015 Jun 4.

An Essential Role for Coagulase in Staphylococcus aureus Biofilm Development Reveals New Therapeutic Possibilities for Device-Related Infections.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Department of Microbiology, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Education and Research Centre, Beaumont Hospital, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Department of Microbiology, Connolly Hospital, Dublin.


High-level resistance to antimicrobial drugs is a major factor in the pathogenesis of chronic Staphylococcus aureus biofilm-associated, medical device-related infections. Antimicrobial susceptibility analysis revealed that biofilms grown for ≤ 24 hours on biomaterials conditioned with human plasma under venous shear in iron-free cell culture medium were significantly more susceptible to antistaphylococcal antibiotics. Biofilms formed under these physiologically relevant conditions were regulated by SaeRS and dependent on coagulase-catalyzed conversion of fibrinogen into fibrin. In contrast, SarA-regulated biofilms formed on uncoated polystyrene in nutrient-rich bacteriological medium were mediated by the previously characterized biofilm factors poly-N-acetyl glucosamine, fibronectin-binding proteins, or autolytic activity and were antibiotic resistant. Coagulase-mediated biofilms exhibited increased antimicrobial resistance over time (>48 hours) but were always susceptible to dispersal by the fibrinolytic enzymes plasmin or nattokinase. Biofilms recovered from infected central venous catheters in a rat model of device-related infection were dispersed by nattokinase, supporting the important role of the biofilm phenotype and identifying a potentially new therapeutic approach with antimicrobials and fibrinolytic drugs, particularly during the early stages of device-related infection.


Staphylococcus; antimicrobial; biofilm; coagulase; infection; susceptibility

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