Send to

Choose Destination
Infect Immun. 2001 Jun;69(6):4079-85.

Anaerobic conditions induce expression of polysaccharide intercellular adhesin in Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis.

Author information

Department of Microbial Genetics, Hygiene Institute, University of Tübingen, Germany.


Products of the intercellular adhesion (ica) operon in Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis synthesize a linear beta-1,6-linked glucosaminylglycan. This extracellular polysaccharide mediates bacterial cell-cell adhesion and is required for biofilm formation, which is thought to increase the virulence of both pathogens in association with prosthetic biomedical implants. The environmental signal(s) that triggers ica gene product and polysaccharide expression is unknown. Here we demonstrate that anaerobic in vitro growth conditions lead to increased polysaccharide expression in both S. aureus and S. epidermidis, although the regulation is less stringent in S. epidermidis. Anaerobiosis also dramatically stimulates ica-specific mRNA expression in ica- and polysaccharide-positive strains of both S. aureus and S. epidermidis. These data suggest a mechanism whereby ica gene expression and polysaccharide production may act as a virulence factor in an anaerobic environment in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center