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Staphylococcus aureus is a Gram-positive bacterial pathogen that produces a range of infections including cellulitis, pneumonia, and septicemia. The principle mechanism in antistaphylococcal host defense is opsonization with antibodies and complement proteins, followed by phagocytic clearance. Here we use a previously developed technique for installing chemical epitopes in the peptidoglycan cell wall to show that surface glycopolymers known as wall teichoic acids conceal cell wall epitopes, preventing their recognition and opsonization by antibodies. Thus, our results reveal a previously unrecognized immunoevasive role for wall teichoic acids in S. aureus: repulsion of peptidoglycan-targeted antibodies.


Samir Gautam, Taehan Kim, Evan Lester, Deeksha Deep, David A Spiegel. Wall teichoic acids prevent antibody binding to epitopes within the cell wall of Staphylococcus aureus. ACS chemical biology. 2016 Jan 15;11(1):25-30

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PMID: 26502318

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