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The roles of epithelial cell contact, respiratory bacterial interactions and phosphorylcholine in promoting biofilm formation by Streptococcus pneumoniae and nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae.

Microbes and infection (2014-07-08)
Ajay Krishnamurthy, Jennelle Kyd
ABSTRACT

Streptococcus pneumoniae and nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae (NTHi) often share a common niche within the nasopharynx, both associated with infections such as bronchitis and otitis media. This study investigated how the association between NTHi and S. pneumoniae and the host affects their propensity to form biofilms. We investigated a selection of bacterial strain and serotype combinations on biofilm formation, and the effect of contact with respiratory epithelial cells. Measurement of biofilm showed that co-infection with NTHi and S. pneumoniae increased biofilm formation following contact with epithelial cells compared to no contact demonstrating the role of epithelial cells in biofilm formation. Additionally, the influence of phosphorylcholine (ChoP) on biofilm production was investigated using the licD mutant strain of NTHi 2019 and found that ChoP had a role in mixed biofilm formation but was not the only requirement. The study highlights the complex interactions between microbes and the host epithelium during biofilm production, suggesting the importance of understanding why certain strains and serotypes differentially influence biofilm formation. A key contributor to increased biofilm formation was the upregulation of biofilm formation by epithelial cell factors.

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