Exploring the biofilm of Streptococcus agalactiae to identify virulence factors

D'Urzo, Nunzia (2014) Exploring the biofilm of Streptococcus agalactiae to identify virulence factors, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare, 26 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/6385.
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Streptococcus agalactiae, also known as Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the primary colonizer of the anogenital mucosa of up to 40% of healthy women and an important cause of invasive neonatal infections worldwide. Among the 10 known capsular serotypes, GBS type III accounts for 30-76% of the cases of neonatal meningitis. Biofilms are dense aggregates of surface-adherent microorganisms embedded in an exopolysaccharide matrix. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 65% of human bacterial infections involve biofilms (Post et al., 2004). In recent years, the ability of GBS to form biofilm attracted attention for its possible role in fitness and/or virulence. Here, a new in vitro biofilm formation protocol was developed to guarantee more stringent conditions, to better discriminate between strong-, low- and non- biofilm forming strains and reduce ambiguous data interpretation. This protocol was applied to screen the in vitro biofilm formation ability of more than 350 GBS clinical isolates from pregnant women and neonatal infections belonging to different serotype, in relation to media composition and pH. The results showed the enhancement of GBS biofilm formation in acidic condition and identified a subset of isolates belonging to serotypes III and V that forms strong biofilms in these conditions. Interestingly, the best biofilm formers belonged to the serotype III hypervirulent clone ST-17.It was also found that pH 5.0 induces down-regulation of the capsule but that this reduction is not enough by itself to ensure biofilm formation. Moreover, the ability of proteinase K to strongly inhibit biofilm formation and to disaggregate mature biofilms suggested that proteins play an essential role in promoting GBS biofilm formation and contribute to the biofilm structural stability. Finally, a set of proteins potentially expressed during the GBS in vitro biofilm formation were identified by mass spectrometry.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
D'Urzo, Nunzia
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Biofilm, Streptococcus agalactiae, acidic pH, ST-17, serotype III, Group B Streptococcus, surfome, surface exposed proteins.
Data di discussione
11 Aprile 2014

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