Immune modulators are known to be produced by matured biofilms and during different stages of planktonic growth of Staphylococcus aureus. Little is known about immune modulator production during the early stages of biofilm formation, thus raising the following question: how does S. aureus protect itself from the innate immune responses at these stages? Therefore, we determined the production of the following immune modulators: chemotaxis inhibitory protein of staphylococci (CHIPS); staphylococcal complement inhibitor (SCIN); formyl peptide receptor-like 1 inhibitor; gamma-hemolysin component B; leukocidins D, E, and S; staphylococcal superantigen-like proteins 1, 3, 5, and 9; and staphylococcal enterotoxin A. Production was determined during in vitro biofilm formation in Iscove's modified Dulbecco's medium at different time points using a competitive Luminex assay and mass spectrometry. Both methods demonstrated the production of the immune modulators SCIN and CHIPS during the early stages of biofilm formation. The green fluorescence protein promoter fusion technology confirmed scn (SCIN) and, to a lesser extent, chp (CHIPS) transcription during the early stages of biofilm formation. Furthermore, we found that SCIN could inhibit human complement activation induced by early biofilms, indicating that S. aureus is able to modulate the innate immune system already during the early stages of biofilm formation in vitro. These results form a stepping stone toward elucidating the role of immune modulators in the establishment of biofilms in vivo and present opportunities to develop preventive strategies.

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Infection and Immunity
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Sultan, A., Swierstra, J., Toom, N.A.L.-D. (Nicole A. Lemmens-Den), Snijders, S., Maňásková, S. H., Verbon, A., & van Wamel, W. (2018). Production of staphylococcal complement inhibitor (SCIN) and other immune modulators during the early stages of Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation in a mammalian cell culture medium. Infection and Immunity, 86(8). doi:10.1128/IAI.00352-18