Adhesion of Staphylococcus epidermidis and transposon mutant strains to hydrophobic polyethylene

Julie M. Higashi, I. Wen Wang, David M. Shlaes, James M. Anderson, Roger E. Marchant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus epidermidis capsular polysaccharide adhesin (PS/A) and slime were studied as possible mediators of bacterial adhesion to NHLBI polyethylene (PE) under dynamic flow. This putative interaction was examined by quantifying the adhesion of M187 (PS/A+, slime+) parent strain and isogenic transposon mutant strain sn3 (PS/A-, slime-) to polyethylene (PE) under a range of physiologic shear stress conditions in both phosphate- buffered saline (PBS) and 1% platelet poor plasma (PPP). No significant differences in adhesion were noted between the M187 and sn3 strains in either test medium. However, adhesion of both strains in 1% PPP was decreased 75- 95% compared to adhesion in PBS. In PBS, adhesion was shear stress dependent from 0-15 dyne/cm2, after which adhesion was comparatively shear stress independent. Adhesion in 1% PPP was independent of shear stress. Epifluorescent imaging of both strains labeled for slime confirmed the presence of slime on the surface of M187 and suggested that PS/A and slime promote the formation of large aggregates, as aggregates were totally absent in the images of the sn3 strain. The results suggest that PS/A and slime do not mediate S. epidermidis adhesion to bare PE or PE with adsorbed plasma proteins, but may be necessary for intercellular adhesion, which is important for biofilm formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 5 1998


  • Bacterial adhesion
  • Biomaterials-adverse effects
  • Polysaccharide adhesin (PS/A)
  • Slime
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis
  • Surface hydrophobicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering

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