Antibodies to PhnD Inhibit Staphylococcal Biofilms.
Biofilm formation on central lines or peripheral catheters is a serious threat to patient well-being. Contaminated vascular devices can act as a nidus for bloodstream infection and systemic pathogen dissemination. Staphylococcal biofilms are the most common cause of central-line-associated bloodstream infections, and antibiotic resistance makes them difficult to treat. As an alternative to antibiotic intervention, we sought to identify anti-staphylococcal biofilm targets for the development of a vaccine or antibody prophylactic. A screening strategy was devised using a microfluidic system to test antibody-mediated biofilm inhibition under biologically relevant conditions of shear flow. Affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies to target antigen PhnD inhibited both Staphylococcus epidermidis and S. aureus biofilms. PhnD-specific antibodies blocked biofilm development at the initial attachment and aggregation stages, and deletion of phnD inhibited normal biofilm formation. We further adapted our microfluidic biofilm system to monitor the interaction of human neutrophils with staphylococcal biofilms and demonstrated that PhnD-specific antibodies also serve as opsonins to enhance neutrophil binding, motility, and biofilm engulfment. These data support the identification of PhnD as a lead target for biofilm intervention strategies performed either by vaccination or through passive administration of antibodies.
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Keywords: Microbiology, Immunology, Biofilm