FEMS microbiology letters

Aspartate inhibits Staphylococcus aureus biofilm formation.

PMID 25687923


Biofilm formation renders Staphylococcus aureus highly resistant to conventional antibiotics and host defenses. Four D-amino acids (D-Leu, D-Met, D-Trp and D-Tyr) have been reported to be able to inhibit biofilm formation and disassemble established S. aureus biofilms. We report here for the first time that both D- and L-isoforms of aspartate (Asp) inhibited S. aureus biofilm formation on tissue culture plates. Similar biofilm inhibition effects were also observed against other staphylococcal strains, including S. saprophyticus, S. equorum, S. chromogenes and S. haemolyticus. It was found that Asp at high concentrations (>10 mM) inhibited the growth of planktonic N315 cells, but at subinhibitory concentrations decreased the cellular metabolic activity without influencing cell growth. The decreased cellular metabolic activity might be the reason for the production of less protein and DNA in the matrix of the biofilms formed in the presence of Asp. However, varied inhibition efficacies of Asp were observed for biofilms formed by clinical staphylococcal isolates. There might be mechanisms other than decreasing the metabolic activity, e.g. the biofilm phenotypes, affecting biofilm formation in the presence of Asp.