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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00327

Lipoteichoic Acid Inhibits Staphylococcus aureus Biofilm Formation

Ki Bum Ahn1, 2, Jung Eun Baik1,  Cheol-Heui Yun3 and  Seung Hyun Han1*
  • 1Department of Oral Microbiology and Immunology, DRI, and BK21 Plus Program, School of Dentistry, Seoul National University, South Korea
  • 2Research Division for Biotechnology, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), South Korea
  • 3Department of Agricultural Biotechnology and Research Institute for Agriculture and Life Sciences, Seoul National University, South Korea

A biofilm is an aggregate of microorganisms in which cells adhere to biological or non-biological surfaces and is responsible for various infectious diseases. Infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus, including pneumonia, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis, are often associated with colonization and biofilm formation. Although lipoteichoic acid (LTA) is involved in biofilm formation, the specific role of LTA is not clearly understood. In this study, we demonstrated that LTA released from Lactobacillus plantarum could inhibit S. aureus biofilm formation and aggregation without affecting the growth of S. aureus in various in vitro and in vivo models. L. plantarum LTA (Lp.LTA) also inhibited biofilm formation of S. aureus clinical isolates, including a methicillin-resistant strain. Remarkably, Lp.LTA not only interfered with S. aureus biofilm formation, but it also disrupted a pre-formed biofilm. Mechanism studies demonstrated that Lp.LTA inhibited expression of the ica-operon, which is responsible for the production of poly-N-acetylglucosamine, a key molecule required for S. aureus biofilm development. Lp.LTA increased the release of autoinducer-2 from S. aureus, which contributed to the inhibition of S. aureus biofilm formation. Moreover, Lp.LTA treatment enhanced susceptibility of the biofilm to various antibiotics and to macrophages. Interestingly, Lp.LTA without D-alanine moieties was not able to inhibit biofilm formation by S. aureus. In conclusion, the present study suggests that LTA can inhibit S. aureus biofilm formation, and therefore could be applied for preventing and/or treating infectious diseases caused by S. aureus biofilms.

Keywords: lipoteichoic acid, Lactobacillus plantarum, Staphylococcus aureus, Biofilm formation, infectious diseases

Received: 24 Oct 2017; Accepted: 12 Feb 2018.

Edited by:

Giovanni Gherardi, Università Campus Bio-Medico, Italy

Reviewed by:

Luca A. Vitali, School of Pharmacy, University of Camerino, Italy
Giovanni Di Bonaventura, Università degli Studi G. d'Annunzio Chieti e Pescara, Italy  

Copyright: © 2018 Ahn, Baik, Yun and Han. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Seung Hyun Han, Seoul National University, Department of Oral Microbiology and Immunology, DRI, and BK21 Plus Program, School of Dentistry, Seoul, 08826, South Korea,