Send to

Choose Destination
J Infect Dis. 2016 Jan 1;213(1):139-48. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiv360. Epub 2015 Jul 1.

Staphylokinase Control of Staphylococcus aureus Biofilm Formation and Detachment Through Host Plasminogen Activation.

Author information

Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, Institute of Medicine.
Center for Molecular and Vascular Biology, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leuven, Belgium.
Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Skaraborg Hospital, Skövde, Sweden.
Electron Microscopy Unit.
Department of Microbiology, Moyne Institute of Preventive Medicine, School of Genetics and Microbiology, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland.
Department of Rheumatology and Inflammation Research, Institute of Medicine Department of Oral Microbiology and Immunology, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg.


Staphylococcus aureus biofilms, a leading cause of persistent infections, are highly resistant to immune defenses and antimicrobial therapies. In the present study, we investigated the contribution of fibrin and staphylokinase (Sak) to biofilm formation. In both clinical S. aureus isolates and laboratory strains, high Sak-producing strains formed less biofilm than strains that lacked Sak, suggesting that Sak prevents biofilm formation. In addition, Sak induced detachment of mature biofilms. This effect depended on plasminogen activation by Sak. Host-derived fibrin, the main substrate cleaved by Sak-activated plasminogen, was a major component of biofilm matrix, and dissolution of this fibrin scaffold greatly increased susceptibility of biofilms to antibiotics and neutrophil phagocytosis. Sak also attenuated biofilm-associated catheter infections in mouse models. In conclusion, our results reveal a novel role for Sak-induced plasminogen activation that prevents S. aureus biofilm formation and induces detachment of existing biofilms through proteolytic cleavage of biofilm matrix components.


Staphylococcus aureus; biofilm; fibrin; plasminogen; staphylokinase

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center