Chelating agents exert distinct effects on biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus depending on strain background: role for clumping factor B.
Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of catheter infections, and biofilm formation plays a key role in the pathogenesis. Metal ion chelators inhibit bacterial biofilm formation and viability, making them attractive candidates as components in catheter lock solutions. The goal of this study was to characterize further the effect of chelators on biofilm formation. The effect of the calcium chelators ethylene glycol tetraacetic acid (EGTA) and trisodium citrate (TSC) on biofilm formation by 30 S. aureus strains was tested. The response to subinhibitory doses of EGTA and TSC varied dramatically depending on strain variation. In some strains, the chelators prevented biofilm formation, in others they had no effect, and they actually enhanced biofilm formation in others. The molecular basis for this phenotypic variability was investigated using two related strains: Newman, in which biofilm formation was inhibited by chelators, and 10833, which formed strong biofilms in the presence of chelators. It was found that deletion of the gene encoding the surface adhesin clumping factor B (clfB) completely eliminated chelator-induced biofilm formation in strain 10833. The role of ClfB in biofilm formation activity in chelators was confirmed in additional strains. It was concluded that biofilm-forming ability varies strikingly depending on strain background, and that ClfB is involved in biofilm formation in the presence EGTA and citrate. These results suggest that subinhibitory doses of chelating agents in catheter lock solutions may actually augment biofilm formation in certain strains of S. aureus, and emphasize the importance of using these agents appropriately so that inhibitory doses are achieved consistently.
Abraham, NM; Lamlertthon, S; Fowler, VG; Jefferson, KK
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