Infection and Immunity vol:80 issue:10 pages:3660-3668
The increased use of medical implants has resulted in a concomitant rise in device-related infections. The majority of these infections are caused by Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms. Immunoprophylaxis and immunotherapy targeting in vivo-expressed, biofilm-associated, bacterial cell surface-exposed proteins are promising new approaches to prevent and treat biofilm-related infections, respectively. Using an in silico procedure, we identified 64 proteins that are predicted to be S. epidermidis surface exposed (Ses), of which 36 were annotated as (conserved) hypothetical. Of these 36 proteins, 5 proteins-3 LPXTG motif-containing proteins (SesL, SesB, and SesC) and 2 of the largest ABC transporters (SesK and SesM)-were selected for evaluation as vaccine candidates. This choice was based on protein size, number of antigenic determinants, or the established role in S. epidermidis biofilm formation of the protein family to which the candidate protein belongs. Anti-SesC antibodies exhibited the greatest inhibitory effect on S. epidermidis biofilm formation in vitro and on colonization and infection in a mouse jugular vein catheter infection model that includes biofilms and organ infections. Active vaccination with a recombinant truncated SesC inhibited S. epidermidis biofilm formation in a rat model of subcutaneous foreign body infection. Antibodies to SesC were shown to be opsonic by an in vitro opsonophagocytosis assay. We conclude that SesC is a promising target for antibody mediated strategies against S. epidermidis biofilm formation.