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J Med Microbiol. 2016 Dec;65(12):1405-1413. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.000372. Epub 2016 Oct 19.

Coagulase-negative staphylococci: pathogenesis, occurrence of antibiotic resistance genes and in vitro effects of antimicrobial agents on biofilm-growing bacteria.

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Department of Microbiology, Institute of Experimental Biology, Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University, ul. Umultowska 89, 61-614 Poznań, Poland.


Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are opportunistic pathogens that particularly cause infections in patients with implanted medical devices. The present research was performed to study the virulence potential of 53 clinical isolates of Staphylococcus capitis, Staphylococcus auricularis, Staphylococcus lugdunensis, Staphylococcus simulans, Staphylococcus cohnii and Staphylococcus caprae. All clinical strains were clonally unrelated. Isolates carried genes encoding resistance to β-lactam (mecA) (15 %), aminoglycoside [aac(6')/aph(2″)(11 %), aph (3')-IIIa (15 %), ant(4')-Ia (19 %)] and macrolide, lincosamide and streptogramin B (MLSB) [erm(A) (4 %), erm(B) (13 %), erm(C) (41 %), msr(A) (11 %)] antibiotics. CoNS isolates (64 %) were able to form biofilms. Confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that these biofilms formed a three-dimensional structure composed mainly of living cells. All biofilm-positive strains carried the ica operon. In vitro studies demonstrated that a combination treatment with tigecycline and rifampicin was more effective against biofilms than one with ciprofloxacin and rifampicin. The minimum biofilm eradication concentration values were 0.062-0.5 µg ml-1 for tigecycline/rifampicin and 0.250-2 µg ml-1 for ciprofloxacin/rifampicin. All CoNS strains adhered to the human epithelial cell line HeLa, and more than half of the isolates were able to invade the HeLa cells, although most invaded relatively poorly. The virulence of CoNS is also attributed to their cytotoxic effects on HeLa cells. Incubation of HeLa cells with culture supernatant of the CoNS isolates resulted in cell death. The results indicate that the pathogenicity of S. capitis, S. auricularis, S. lugdunensis, S. cohnii and S. caprae is multi-factorial, involving the ability of these bacteria to adhere to human epithelial cells, form biofilms and invade and destroy human cells.

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