The Role of Serum Proteins in Staphylococcus aureus Adhesion to Ethylene Glycol Coated Surfaces

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Albumin, Bovine serum, γ-Globulins, Oligo(ethylene glycol) (EG3OMe) thiol surface coating, Poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG2k) thiol surface coating, Staphylococcus aureus adhesion

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Bacterial adhesion on implants is a first step in the development of chronic foreign body associated infections. Finding strategies to minimize bacterial adhesion may contribute to minimize such infections. It is known that surfaces with oligo-ethylene-glycol (EG3OMe) or poly-ethylene-glycol (PEG2k) terminations decrease unspecific protein adsorption and bacterial adhesion. However, little is known about the influence of serum and its components on bacterial adhesion. We therefore prepared two coatings on gold surface with HS-(CH2)11EG3OMe (EG3OMe) and PEG2k-thiol and studied the role of bovine serum albumin (BSA), γ-globulins, and serum on Staphylococcus aureus adhesion. While BSA and lysozyme showed no adherence even when applied at very high concentrations (100 mg/ml), γ-globulins adsorbed already from 10 mg/ml on. The adsorption of γ-globulins was, however, significantly decreased when it was mixed with BSA in a ratio of 3:1, as it is in the serum. Pretreatment of EG3OMe and PEG2k coatings with γ-globulins or serum strongly promoted adherence of S. aureus when resuspended in buffer, suggesting that γ-globulins play a pivotal role in promoting S. aureus adhesion by its IgG binding proteins; the finding that a spa-deletion mutant, lacking the IgG binding protein A, showed decreased adherence corroborated this. Similarly, when S. aureus was pretreated with serum or γ-globulins its adherence was also significantly decreased. Our findings show that particularly γ-globulins bind to the coated surfaces thus mediating adherence of S. aureus via its protein A. As pretreatment of S. aureus with serum or γ-globulins significantly decreased adherence, treatment of patients with γ-globulins before implant surgery might lower the risk of implant-associated infections.

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International Journal of Medical Microbiology, v. 304, issue 8, p. 949-957